Do you ever wonder what kind of vivid fireworks erupt in our brains when we read a book? The lovely Anna Haber of The Story Scientist featured me this weekend to ramble about the science behind the indelible impression stories leave on us. The studies in this area have yielded really fascinating results. Take a look, and while you’re at it, check out some of Anna’s own posts!
Those of us who read know the wonder of stories. They transport us to places and times and cultures and customs beyond our own, so vivid we can hear and touch and taste them. They transform us into people we are not, drawing on our common human traits to allow us to feel things we’ve never felt before. They enable us to experience, in a sense, things that can be understood only through experience, so that we may both make sense of the world for our own sakes and empathize with others who have undergone trials we haven’t. It’s magic.
It’s also science.
Let’s look at a few of the ways fiction demonstrably impacts us — and what that means to writers.