Mankind has been telling stories for 95,000 years. From cave drawings to the internet, from oral traditions to streaming media, stories shape our values, our understanding of history. Stories are the foundation of our culture.
Stories have a definite impact on us; to understand why, a quick overview of how and why stories affect us will be helpful. It’s all in our heads, our brains actually.
Our brain consists of three distinct parts:
- Brain stem, reptilian or survival brain-contols breathing, heart rate, fight or flight
- Limbic brain, the seat of our emotions-right and wrong, good and bad, love, anger, fear, compassion, concern, they're all in the Limbic Brain
- Neocortex, the thinking brain, analytical brain. This is the part of the brain we are proud of, so proud that we seldom consider the other two.
We like to think that we analyze information first and make rational, unemotional decisions. The truth is that all sensory information we receive first goes to the brain stem, the survival brain. It's then passed on to the Limbic brain-where we have an emotional response to the information and then it goes to the neocortex where we analyze the information. Therefore, we always have an emotional reaction to sensory input before we think about it, before we analyze it. Gives whole new meaning to the phrase "On second thought.”
We don't analyze information first and then make rational decisions, our emotions always kick in first.