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Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative

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Abstract

Editor’s Note: The man behind the discovery of the behavioral effect of a neurochemical in the brain called oxytocin wondered if the molecule might motivate people to engage in cooperative behaviors. In a series of tests using videos, his lab discovered that compelling narratives cause oxytocin release and have the power to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

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... Oxytocin is known as a neurotransmitter of social bonding, which also plays an important role in the period after childbirth. When it comes to its social function, Zak (2015) conducted several studies on this matter. First, it was demonstrated that oxytocin increases people's prosocial behaviours. ...
... First, it was demonstrated that oxytocin increases people's prosocial behaviours. Zak (2015) also considers oxytocin as the neurologic substrate for the 'Golden Rule'when you treat someone well, their brain will synthesise oxytocin, and, as a result, they will be motivated to treat you well, too. Another study conducted by Barraza and Zak (2009) suggests that emotionally engaging stories inspire post-narrative actions, in this case, money donations. ...
... Although this study did not clarify whether the oxytocin was the reason why participants cared about the people shown in a touching video, it suggests a significant correlation between oxytocin and empathy. Zak's current research suggests that oxytocin might be considered as the brain's 'morale molecule', which leads people to virtuous behaviours (Zak, 2015) and makes them feel good (Eber, 2020). ...
Book
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This book focuses on the topic of positive emotions in the context of foreign language learning. The main objective of this publication is to offer an overview of both theoretical knowledge and research findings from the field of general psychology, positive psychology, and neuroscience, and to present and apply them in the educational context. This work is divided into two main parts. The first part deals with emotions as such, their definitions, classifications, as well as with the emotion-cognition relationship. Furthermore, several neuroscientific, psychological, and cognitive concepts are discussed in this context. In addition, teaching approaches and memory aids, which are especially beneficial in terms of enhancement of memory, retention, and recall of the information, are discussed from the didactic point of view in the context of foreign language vocabulary learning. The second part of this publication presents the research conducted by the authors. The experimental research strategy was of mixed quantitative-qualitative nature and its main objective was to find out whether the positive emotional stimuli increase the retention of the new foreign language vocabulary. Moreover, in the beginning and in the end of the experiment, the emotional status of research participants and their autonomic stress responses were monitored. The quantitative research data, together with the research participants’ reflections of the learning process and the implemented positive emotional stimuli, are presented and discussed with regard to the theoretical concepts presented in the first part of this publication. With regard to the emotion-cognition relationship, in the course of the reading of this book, the reader will get not only an overview of research done in the field of general psychology, positive psychology, neuroscience, and education, but will be also presented a number of recommendations for pedagogical practice – with regard to foreign language education and education as such. We hope that this publication will enrich every reader and shed light on the previously unknown areas in the foreign language pedagogy.
... The level of trust that the participants in the experiment experienced could be predicted by the degree of expression of oxytocin but also how trustworthy they were. By another round of experiments oxytocin was introduced exogenously to the participants of the study, thus replacing the hormone with a synthetic oxytocin, it was demonstrated that oxytocin was the cause of increased levels of trust (Zak, 2004(Zak, , 2015. ...
... High stress inhibited the hormone whereas moderate stress, as when solving a problem in a team, enhanced it. The hormone oestrogen enhanced the level of oxytocin whereas testosterone inhibits up to five to ten times more in men (Zak, 2015) (Zak et al., 2004) (Wu et al., 2020). ...
Article
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Trust is an essential component of developing bonds and, in particular, the relationship between teacher and learner. The cumulative effects of pedagogy, curriculum, content, and delivery in teaching and learning of medical students (MS) are well established and the importance of the relationship between student and teachers, with particular reference to the concept of trust is reviewed, addressing aspects of intention, capability, character, and integrity. Trust is often perceived as a soft quality with respect to education, however trust actually provides an environment of hope and inspirational optimism. In such an environment teachers and learners can be authentic about their ‘best selves’, developing good character with high emotional intelligence (EI), where honest reflection is the key to enhanced integrity with transparent intentions in their relationships. Trusting relationships in education instil mutual respect, enhance collaboration, and promote the independent thinking that results from transparent and kind mutual interactions. Indeed, loyalty and commitment to values and goals ensures the success of the learning environment. Neuroscience and psychology experiments demonstrate recent evidence to support the importance of trust in relationships that can be considered relevant to teaching and learning. The expression of hormones and brain function, associated with trusting relationships and interpersonal bonding is explored.
... The level of trust that the participants in the experiment experienced could be predicted by the degree of expression of oxytocin but also how trustworthy they were. By another round of experiments oxytocin was introduced exogenously to the participants of the study, thus replacing the hormone with a synthetic oxytocin, it was demonstrated that oxytocin was the cause of increased levels of trust (Zak et al., 2004;Zak, 2015). ...
... High stress inhibited the hormone whereas moderate stress, as when solving a problem in a team, enhanced it. The hormone oestrogen enhanced the level of oxytocin whereas testosterone inhibits up to five to ten times more in men (Zak et al., 2004;Zak, 2015;Wu et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Trust is an essential component of developing bonds and, in particular, the relationship between teacher and learner. The cumulative effects of pedagogy, curriculum, content, and delivery in teaching and learning of medical students (MS) are well established and the importance of the relationship between student and teachers, with particular reference to the concept of trust is reviewed, addressing aspects of intention, capability, character, and integrity. Trust is often perceived as a soft quality with respect to education, however trust actually provides an environment of hope and inspirational optimism. In such an environment teachers and learners can be authentic about their ‘best selves’, developing good character with high emotional intelligence (EI), where honest reflection is the key to enhanced integrity with transparent intentions in their relationships. Trusting relationships in education instil mutual respect, enhance collaboration, and promote the independent thinking that results from transparent and kind mutual interactions. Indeed, loyalty and commitment to values and goals ensures the success of the learning environment. Neuroscience and psychology experiments demonstrate recent evidence to support the importance of trust in relationships that can be considered relevant to teaching and learning. The expression of hormones and brain function, associated with trusting relationships and interpersonal bonding is explored.
... Storytelling is a core human characteristic that describes the way we think, dream, construct our knowledge of the world, communicate, and learn (Bruner, 2003;Egan, 1989). Neurobiological and biochemical findings (Cheetham et al., 2014;Zak, 2015) support the notion that storytelling is an evolutionary characteristic of our species (Gottschall, 2012). Ever since humanity existed storytelling has been a crucial educational method, which allows learning from the experience of others from a distance and with safety (Gottschall, 2012). ...
... During storytelling teacher and students share a common experience of co-creation that enforces their relationships. Moreover, due to dopamine released in the brain while listening to a story they experience feelings of contentment (Zak, 2015). ...
Article
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Telling stories derived from the History of Science (HOS) is an educational tool that can be used in science teaching to achieve multiple learning goals. In this research we examine the effectiveness of storytelling as an educational approach in secondary education biology teaching. We designed storytelling interventions about the transmission of diseases (grades: 8, 9, 12) and DNA structure (grade 9). We developed stories from the HOS and adapted them to the relevant curriculum. To evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions we used cognitive questionnaires, interviewed teachers and students in focus groups and used non-participatory observation of the approaches. HOS storytelling was effective in achieving cognitive goals, increasing students' engagement, improving classroom climate, bringing up NOS and sociocultural discussions, while both students and teachers enjoyed it and longed for more. Storytelling affects the classroom dynamics and the relationships among teachers and students cultivating the conditions for meaningful learning.
... The level of trust that the participants in the experiment experienced could be predicted by the degree of expression of oxytocin but also how trustworthy they were. By another round of experiments oxytocin was introduced exogenously to the participants of the study, thus replacing the hormone with a synthetic oxytocin, it was demonstrated that oxytocin was the cause of increased levels of trust (Zak, 2004(Zak, , 2015. ...
... High stress inhibited the hormone whereas moderate stress, as when solving a problem in a team, enhanced it. The hormone oestrogen enhanced the level of oxytocin whereas testosterone inhibits up to five to ten times more in men (Zak, 2015) (Zak et al., 2004) (Wu et al., 2020). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Trust is an essential component of developing bonds and, in particular, the relationship between teacher and learner. The cumulative effects of pedagogy, curriculum, content, and delivery in teaching and learning of medical students (MS) are well established and the importance of the relationship between student and teachers, with particular reference to the concept of trust is reviewed, addressing aspects of intention, capability, character, and integrity. Trust is often perceived as a soft quality with respect to education, however trust actually provides an environment of hope and inspirational optimism. In such an environment teachers and learners can be authentic about their ‘best selves’, developing good character with high emotional intelligence (EI), where honest reflection is the key to enhanced integrity with transparent intentions in their relationships. Trusting relationships in education instil mutual respect, enhance collaboration, and promote the independent thinking that results from transparent and kind mutual interactions. Indeed, loyalty and commitment to values and goals ensures the success of the learning environment. Elements of risk to these relationships are also explored and factors disabling trust relationships. Neuroscience and psychology experiments demonstrate recent evidence to support the importance of trust in relationships that can be considered relevant to teaching and learning. The expression of hormones and brain function, associated with trusting relationships and interpersonal bonding is explored.
... The level of trust that the participants in the experiment experienced could be predicted by the degree of expression of oxytocin but also how trustworthy they were. By another round of experiments oxytocin was introduced exogenously to the participants of the study, thus replacing the hormone with a synthetic oxytocin, it was demonstrated that oxytocin was the cause of increased levels of trust (Zak, 2004(Zak, , 2015. ...
... High stress inhibited the hormone whereas moderate stress, as when solving a problem in a team, enhanced it. The hormone oestrogen enhanced the level of oxytocin whereas testosterone inhibits up to five to ten times more in men (Zak, 2015) (Zak et al., 2004) (Wu et al., 2020). ...
Article
This narrative review of the academic literature explores the concept of trust as an essential component of meaningful learning relationships and high performance learning, by establishing definitions and associated factors. These concepts are supported by current research findings about trust relationships in medical education, sourced from Google, MedEdPublish and PubMed Internet searches. Trust is an essential component of developing bonds and, in particular, the relationship between teacher and learner. The cumulative effects of pedagogy, curriculum, content, and delivery in the teaching and learning of medical students (MS) are well established. The importance of the trust relationship between student and teachers is not widely documented and the current literature is reviewed, addressing aspects of intention, capability, character, and integrity as well as physiological factors, genetic aspects, hormones and neuroscience. Such a detailed dissection and creative analysis of these aspects of medical education, concerning teacher/learner relationships, has not been previously presented. Trust is often perceived as a soft quality, with respect to education; however, it actually provides an environment of hope and inspirational optimism, where teachers and learners can be authentic about their ‘best selves’. Developing a good character with high emotional intelligence (EI), having transparent intentions in their relationships requires honest reflection and is a key to enhanced integrity. Building trusting relationships in education instils mutual respect, enhances collaboration, and promotes independent thinking, influenced by transparent and kind mutual interactions. Loyalty and commitment to values and goals ensures the success of the learning environment. Further, neuroscience, involving psychology experiments demonstrate recent evidence to support the importance of trust in relationships and are considered to be relevant to teaching and learning. Thus, expression of hormones and brain function, associated with trusting relationships and interpersonal bonding is explored. Keywords: Trust; educational leadership; teaching and learning; professionalism; educational neuroscience; self authorship; mentoring and coaching
... Moreover, during listening to a story, especially at turning points, crises and reversals, certain hormones are produced by the endocrine system, which affect our brains in certain ways. Cortisol keeps the listener alert; oxytocin provokes empathy; and dopamine causes pleasure to the listener while listening to a well told story (Zak, 2015). ...
Chapter
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The third cholera pandemic (1852-1860), the most severe one, left its imprint in Europe. In this chapter we present the cholera outbreaks in London and in Athens during 1854. The cultural heritage that was left behind the cholera outbreaks in the two different countries is examined as it constitutes a part of the European cultural heritage. We suggest that those incidents could serve as the main content of an interdisciplinary approach in school science, so that different concepts from biology, geography, history and civic education could be introduced. We propose storytelling as the most appropriate educational tool for such an interdisciplinary approach, as it promotes meaningful understanding and critical thinking, essential skills for making connections between the different disciplines. Through such an approach science is introduced into its cultural, historical, social and political context. [The book is available in https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/geographical-literacy-and-european-heritage/id1444840569?ls=1&mt=11 The .pdf url http://www.solvatech.com.cy/books/ebook_COHERE_ipad_2018.pdf]
... This storytelling tool selects among the thousands of war-related stories to choose from the one(s) to (re)tell: it is the 5-step model of storytelling (Figure 4) (Hover, 2013, based on Philips, 2012McKee, 2010;Von Franz, 1996). According to this model, the dramatic arc in stories is built through the five steps mentioned in Figure 4 (i.e., set-up, motoric moment, turning points, climax and resolution), to generate suspense and as a vehicle for character development (Zak, 2015). ...
Article
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Myths can be part of the established narratives of tourist destinations: they offer a perspective on reality that may alter it but that makes it also more insightful by highlighting its inner contradictions and idiosyncrasies and challenging the universal values underlying it. This altered perspective on a place ensures visitors will feel touched by the myth and connected to the place, and the myth itself will be retold. In this paper, we discuss how we have connected narrative to story and story to myth to (re)tell the narratives of people and places and to enhance, in this way, the overall visitor experience in (tourist) destinations. We review two storytelling/placemaking projects that were commissioned to us by several regional, tourism organizations in Brabant, a province in the South of the Netherlands. The projects are: Becoming Vincent, a project about Vincent van Gogh; and Crossroads, a project about heritage from WWII. The aim of these projects was to draft a unique, narrative concept and design storylines that would link and upgrade the sites related to that heritage to eventually attract tourists there, and/or to stimulate visitors to visit more sites connected to the same theme. Finally, we draw lessons we learnt from these projects and highlight the insights we gained in the use of storytelling for mythmaking in tourist destinations.
... This is vital, given that pairing metrics with stories is particularly impactful and often motivates change within hospitals to improve patients' experiences. Furthermore, there is neuroscience evidence that people are conditioned to learn lessons through stories (15). In comparison to HCAHPS surveys, which permit the quantification of patient experience feedback without the full breadth of the patient's true experience, patient stories can offer a richer perspective. ...
Article
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The Ombudsman Office at a large academic medical center created a standardized approach to manage and measure unsolicited patient complaints, including methods to identify longitudinal improvements, accounting for volume variances, as well as incident severity to prioritize response needs. Data on patient complaints and grievances are collected and categorized by type of issue, unit location, severity, and individual employee involved. In addition to granular data, results are collated into meaningful monthly leadership reports to identify opportunities for improvement. An overall benchmark for improvement is also applied based on the number of complaints and grievances received for every 1000 patient encounters. Results are utilized in conjunction with satisfaction survey results to drive patient experience strategies. By applying benchmarks to patient grievances, targets can be created based on historical performance. The utilization of grievance and complaint benchmarking helps prioritize resources to improve patient experiences.
... Neuroscientists describe neurochemical brain processes that issue from good stories and serve to promote empathy and intense emotions-like love and compassion (Zak, 2015). Zak, for example, has demonstrated the causal effects of increasing the level of the molecule oxytocin in the brain; that is, he found that increasing levels of oxytocin promotes prosocial behaviors. ...
... 56). Proof positive is neuroscientist Paul Zak's (2015) findings: "Narratives that cause us to pay attention and also involve us emotionally are the stories that move us to action" (p. 7). And, confirmation from the legal/instructive realm informs: "sociality which is connected with teaching and learning the problem, relating with the natural world despite the present harsh conditions. ...
... According to Mar and Oatley (2008) the brain experiences the story in the same way it would as if the events were actually happening to the listener. In addition, stories foster empathy and allow us to understand the thoughts and feelings of others (Mar & Oatley, 2008;Zak, 2015). As a result, storytelling can create interconnectedness and a sense of community in the classroom. ...
Article
Historically, storytelling has been a way to pass knowledge between generations and to facilitate an understanding of beliefs. The aim of this current research was to explore the value of storytelling in the higher education classroom, to address the question “how can sharing stories assist students in constructing new knowledge in the classroom?” The purpose of the study was to see if teaching students how to tell a story and having them tell a story in a Freshman seminar class would enhance and enrich the quality of the knowledge they gained in discussions as students. The research utilized the lens of constructivism and a community of inquiry. Findings shed light on the perceptions of the students and the level of classroom engagement after experiencing guided storytelling. The results demonstrated an increase in engagement in the classroom. Students did not feel they needed story telling guidance, but they did feel storytelling was valuable to their overall experience.
... Experiments in social neuroscience and behavioral economics have shown that information about the people in an outgroup can influence one's own behavior in terms of whether or not one behaves prosocially toward a member of the outgroup (Bernhardt & Singer, 2003). In the face of the pandemic, expressional solidarity and prosocial behavior toward the outgroup are relevant at the transnational level in the (Zak, 2015). What kind of narratives and information circulate in the context of the pandemic is a critical factor in the management of the pandemic -because negative information has an impact, too. ...
Article
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For centuries, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations shaped profit maximization as the standard of economic action. The concept of caring economics published by the feminist law and systems scientist Riane Eisler under the title The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics (2007) contrasts this neoliberal, dominance-oriented model of society with the idea of partnership-oriented societies. The concept of caring economics was widely influenced by the social, economic, and welfare systems of the Nordic countries. In 2015-2016, the author of this article conducted a pilot study interviewing scientists from different disciplines with the aim of investigating whether the conditions in these countries reflect Eisler’s theoretical model (Hedenigg, 2019). While Eisler emphasized empathy and care as essential orientations of partnership societies, several of the interviewed scholars, in contrast, stressed cooperation, trust, solidarity, and functioning institutions as essential elements in addition to Eisler’s concept. This article hypothesizes that Eisler’s conception of caring economics should be supplemented by the elements mentioned above, in particular, cooperation. The aim is to identify, in a theory-guided manner, the elements that constitute the central operative mechanisms of the extended conception of caring economics. Resulting conclusions are discussed in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Norway and Finland are among the 10 most successful nations in epidemic containment. This article assumes that the extended conceptualization of caring economics does not only allow us to gain insight into the complexity of the pandemic, but also to identify various successful containment mechanisms. In particular, cooperation appears to play a major role in this context. From an evolutionary point of view, multilevel selection can be regarded as an essential tool to cope with global problems and threats like the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, trust and solidarity as well as gender aspects in the context of political leadership and welfare regimes have been identified as successful pandemic containment mechanisms. In summary, the Covid-19 pandemic lends strong plausibility to the extended conception of caring economics.
... 123 Neuroscientists have concluded that simply the act of reading itself releases oxytocin, a pleasure producing hormone, 124 which, as neuroeconomist Paul Zak concludes, is "the biological instrument that puts people in thrall to a story". 125 This is especially the case with tension-filled stories like a detective tale, 126 and even more so when the crime to be investigated involves death, 127 that most signal characteristic of the detective genre. ...
... Evidence for this dates back to 1800 BC when the oldest known story in the world "The Epic of Gilgamesh" was written on clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia. Recent evidence from evolutionary biology and neuroscience links our cooperative problem-solving ability to deep structures in our brains that hardwire us to be naturally predisposed to think and communicate in narratives (Zak, 2015;Smith et al., 2017;Bietti et al., 2019). Despite the ubiquity of narratives and stories in human life, economics has given little attention to their impact on economic phenomena. ...
Article
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We provide quantitative evidence that economic narratives are deeply integrated with the real economy and financial markets. To that end, we retrieve the most salient COVID-19 narratives from daily open-ended questionnaires presented to a large number of US stockholders prior to, during, and after the first wave of the pandemic (February through June, 2020). We elicit thirteen narratives (e.g. supply disruption, investor fear, stay at home, infection worry, and fiscal and monetary policy intervention) using textual analysis from the survey responses and quantify their propagation over time with individual time series. These narrative series are then included in a large network of macro-financial variables, revealing that (i) narratives significantly drive unexpected fluctuations in the real economy and financial markets and that (ii) narratives are themselves shaped by the real economy and financial markets. The two directions are generally equally strong. These effects exist at a daily horizon, and cumulate over a weekly and monthly horizon. Narratives on supply disruption, infection worry, consumer confidence, and fiscal policy intervention play a dominant role.
... He specified how poetry transmitted orally had been the vehicle for the dissemination of all scientific, legal, historical, religious and philosophical knowledge (Havelock 2019). The engagement of human behaviour in compelling narratives has been also recently studied by neuroscientists that point out a positive increasing in neural brain activity in the listening processes of a story (Zak 2015). In this way, people are more engaged in cooperative behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. ...
Chapter
The series is currently divided into Serie occidentale and Serie orientale , which will gather research of philological nature (critical editions, monographs, researches on printed and manuscript traditions, methodological essays, proceedings of seminars and conferences); its primary goal is to be the ‘place’ of exchange and of intellectual collaboration among scholars of the Western and Eastern traditions: first of all, those who work in the University, but also, and with particular attention, the external ones. Texts written in the main languages of modern cultures will be welcomed; special attention will be devoted to testing of computer critical editions.
... Every culture bathes their children in stories to explain how the world works and to engage and educate their emotions" (Bhalla 2013). Experimental neuroscience has shown that compelling narratives cause oxytocin release (which promotes feelings of love, social bonding, and wellbeing), and have the power to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors (Zak 2015). If we as scientists want the public to hear, understand, and believe our messages that we feel are so important, we must connect with them on a personal level. ...
... Research shows that our brains can contextualize new information when it is placed in the context of story more effectively than in any other format [6]. We learn through all our senses and stories captivate us through the description of visual imagery, the voice of the storyteller, and the emotional connections that, in addition to engaging readers and listeners, may even provide a release of oxytocin when we are moved [7]. ...
Article
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Story is the oldest known way of sharing knowledge and information and engages us in our collective humanity. In research settings, story brings meaning to complex ideas, making them feel palpable and connects us with our audience. Historically, the disciplines that take a research interest in the importance of narrative have been largely in fields like the philosophy of science/medicine, medical humanities, and sociology though story is "always already" a part of scientific research. Humanities have gained traction in medical and science education, and researchers are seeking such curricula to communicate more effectively with the public and their students. We believe that story is an effective tool to enable CTS investigators to be effective educators and communicators of translational science. Story-based interdisciplinary pedagogy emphasizes an approach encouraging clinical researchers to keep the human story as the driving force of research design, dissemination, and application of research to diverse audiences. In this article, we provide backgrounds on successful programs that have used story in science communication and education as well as a tool researchers can use to incorporate the structure of story into their own work.
... Neurobiological studies have revealed that when listening to a story, dopamine is released to the brain, indicating storytelling's evolutionary significance (Boyd 2009). As the story unfolds, and the action rises, our brain gives the signals for the production of cortisol -that keeps it alert -and oxytocin that promotes connection and empathy (Zak 2015). While we are being absorbed in a narrative, mirror neurons get activated in several parts of the brain, including motor areas, as if we were experiencing the story firsthand (Cheetham et al. 2014;Speer et al. 2009). ...
Chapter
Nature of science (NΟS) is considered to be an essential aspect of science literacy. However, the incorporation of NΟS into school practice turns out to be challenging. History of science (HOS) has been repeatedly acknowledged as valuable in teaching NOS. We propose that stories derived from HOS should be introduced in class by storytelling followed by a conversation. Storytelling has been a universally successful teaching and learning method ever since humans started to communicate through speech, yet it remains intemporal and modern. By the term “storytelling” we mean the act of someone telling a story orally, live, in his/her own words. We propose story-organizing and storytelling tips for effective storytelling based on HOS. We include examples of stories that can illuminate NOS aspects, and we examine the attribution of storytelling to understanding different NOS aspects. Our research findings reveal that telling stories derived from the HOS in combination with class conversation may be a sufficient method to teach NOS, in an easy and satisfying way for the teachers to apply.
... Such narratives can have profound impacts on story listeners as well, facilitating radical listening (Heldke 2006) and emotional engagement in ways distinct from cognitive inquiry (Bonnell and Simon 2007;Simon 2011;Fischer et al. 2017). While the effects of storytelling on museum visitors are poorly documented (Arnold-de Simine 2013), research from other fields demonstrates that narratives trigger the release of neurochemicals that support attentiveness, understanding, and action (Zak 2015); make information more memorable; and generate less defensive responses from listeners than other forms of communication (Bruner 1990). Decades of sociological research on the 'contact hypothesis' further clarifies that intergroup encounters with perceived 'Others' are an effective strategy for reducing generalizations and oversimplifications, including misconceptions and stereotypes (Allport 1954;Pettigrew and Tropp 2006;Dovidio et al. 2011). ...
Article
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In 2018 the Anthropology Museum at California State University San Bernardino (USA) opened an exhibition entitled In|Dignity. The collaborative endeavour combined social science techniques, documentary photography, and theatre performances to present first person narratives of 43 community members. Participants represented marginalized demographics and intersectional identities that extended far beyond standardized approaches to ‘diversity’. Their stories provided an intimate look into experiences of discrimination, microaggressions, harassment, exclusion, and other affronts to self-worth and barriers to community belonging. This article argues that connecting individuals through telling and listening to stories is a valid strategy to promote social justice. In|Dignity provides one case study of a museum using the narrative form and the processes of exhibition development to disrupt power hierarchies, uplift community concerns, and promote human dignity.
... We used the resource only condition to show that the effectiveness of the resource information would be further enhanced if coupled with student testimonials that provide a narrative about how background context requires that they access these resources. We argue messages are more effective when presented in a storied manner as stories facilitate experiential rather than analytical processing (Green, 1996;Green & Brock, 2000), create heightening affective engagement and heightening emotional arousal (Zak, 2015), which better motivate action-taking (Hoeken, Kolthoff, & Sanders, 2016;Loewenstein, 2010;Morris et al., 2019). These stories are particularly effective when constructed in ways that are relevant to the lived experiences, motivations, and goals of minoritized students (Covarrubias, Herrmann, & Fryberg, 2016;Harackiewicz, Canning, Tibbetts, Priniski, & Hyde, 2016;Jackson, Galvez, Landa, Buonora, & Thoman, 2016;Stephens et al., 2012). ...
Article
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Objectives: Navigating pathways of higher education means uncovering hidden "rules" about how to be successful in university systems that privilege dominant ways of knowing. To unpack these rules, universities have attempted a range of approaches from enrolling students in semester-long courses focused on the transition to college to more cost-effective psychological interventions that use stories to highlight pathways for navigating the transition. These cost-effective approaches are of increased interest to universities and effective in promoting student outcomes. Yet, their effects have mostly been examined in predominantly White institutions leaving open the question of how to tailor these interventions in less-resourced institutions serving a more diverse student body. We examined the effect of making these hidden resources known in concrete ways and of contextualizing these resources with student stories through a scalable online video-based assignment. Method: Across 2 large-scale experiments at a minority serving institution, participants watched either resource videos only or resource videos coupled with students' stories. Results: Compared to a no-treatment control group, we found that first-generation-to-college students benefited from receiving both types of resource information. Continuing-generation-to-college students benefited the most when resources were coupled with student stories. Conclusions: We speculate that first-generation students at minority serving institutions have concrete concerns that need to be addressed alongside identity and social belonging needs. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Some refer to the "storytelling brain cocktail" that serves as a catalyst for behavior change. Paul Zak (Zak, 2015) relates this power of story to the reptilian brain. ...
Thesis
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This research investigates instructional narrative interventions for transformative learning among high orality reliant peoples. Two research questions asked: “Does an oral strategy of radio drama in a participatory environment lead to significant changes in knowledge and beliefs,” with a hypothesis stating there would be significant positive changes; and “When listeners experience narrative transport can it affect receptivity leading to knowledge and belief change,” and the hypothesis stated that narrative transport would correlate to higher positive responses. The mixed methods design analyzed personal experiences and survey responses of treatment group and control groups. Quantitatively I assessed a treatment group using a matched pre/posttest survey related to learning goals and the Transportation Imagery Survey. The qualitative data was gathered in focus groups and personal interviews. The findings showed a significant change in treatment group in knowledge and beliefs (40%). The treatment group also scored 74% correct answers in contrast to the posttest only survey control group of 56%. The additional modified Transportation Imagery Survey (TMS) assessed the treatment group’s level of transport into the narrative (6.1/7) and a positive correlation (.65) to the change in answers for the posttest. The study presents relevant considerations for instructional communication designers and professionals serving higher orality reliant audiences and the power of participatory narrative instruction constructing healthier knowledge and beliefs. KEYWORDS: Orality, Narrative, Transformative Learning, Transportation Imagery Model, Participatory Communication, Orphan Caregiver Training
... Todos procesamos la información más fácilmente cuando la recibimos en un estilo narrativo (Bower & Clark 1969, Heath & Heath 2007, Zak 2015. Por esta razón, varios expertos en comunicación recomiendan que redactemos nuestros manuscritos científicos "relatando una historia" (Olson 2015, Langin 2017, Clemens 2018. ...
... Por esta razón, las novelas y cuentos logran entretenernos y conmovernos. Las historias con elementos de tensión y clímax evocan emociones, y esas emociones hacen que recordemos más fácilmente esas historias (Bower & Clark 1969, Zak 2015. Por esta razón, varios expertos en comunicación nos recomiendan que redactemos nuestros manuscritos científicos "relatando una historia" (Olson 2015, Langin 2017, Clemens 2018 Entonces, cada artículo científico es en sí mismo una historia. ...
Article
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Si tú no comprendes la narrativa, no comprendes completamente la ciencia. Olson (2015)
... Integrating diverse stories can also be used as a pedagogical approach in global learning, fostering social-emotional skills and engagement (Eades, 2005) while dispelling stereotypes that can sometimes result from the 'single story' (Adichie, 2009). Significantly, storytelling can also enhance sensitivity to others and result in having empathic feelings (Zak, 2015), a key disposition of global competence. Fig. 1 depicts the interrelated nature of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that, together, exemplify a teacher's global competence. ...
Article
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This case study describes the design, learning experiences, and student outcomes in one Instructional Design course with an explicit focus on globally competent teaching. We make the argument that forefronting global competence in an Instructional Design course, prior to social studies methods, is a necessary precursor to accelerate students’ progress on a pathway towards teaching for global competence. In support of this argument, we (a) describe the ways in which an Instructional Design course in one university forefronted global competence; (b) explain the short- and long-term outcomes of this design; and (c) highlight four students to illustrate how the Instructional Design course helped to move students along a pathway towards global competence. We nest our approach within a globally competent teaching framework.
... Northwestern's program focuses specifically on lay-friendly magazine writing and science storytelling approaches (Leslie et al., 2013;Dahlstrom, 2014), and therefore this rubric deliberately defines some narrative conventions (Zinsser, 2016;Hart, n.d) which connect with research on recall and processing of narrative elements (Speer et al., 2009;Zak, 2015), as well as metaphors and analogies (Wolff and Gentner, 2011). ...
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We respond to a surging interest in science communication training for graduate scientists by advocating for a focus on rhetorically informed approaches to STEM writing and its assessment. We argue that STEM communication initiatives would benefit by shifting from a strategic focus on products to a flexible understanding of writing as a practice worthy of attention and study. To do that, we use our experience across two universities and two distinct programmatic contexts to train STEM graduate students in writing and communication. We draw from cross-disciplinary conversations to identify four facets of “good” STEM writing: (1) connecting to the big picture; (2) explaining science; (3) adhering to genre conventions; and (4) choosing context-appropriate language. We then describe our ongoing conversations across contexts to develop and implement flexible rubrics that capture and foster conversations around “good” writing. In doing so, we argue for a notion of writing rubrics as boundary objects, capable of fostering cross-disciplinary, integrative conversations and collaborations that strengthen student writing, shift STEM students toward a rhetorically informed sense of “good” writing, and offer that kinds of assessment data that make for persuasive evidence of the power of writing-centric approaches for STEM administrators and funders.
... Stories and metaphors that illustrate the targeted concepts, rather than a straightforward presentation of information, facilitate knowledge encapsulation of into long-term memory [30]. Specifically, the inclusion of stories, case examples, and metaphors allows listeners to restructure their knowledge in a novel way. ...
Article
Effective lecturing stimulates learning, creates a verbal history for our profession, and is a central basis for evaluating academic promotion. Unfortunately, few resources exist in the medical literature to guide the academician toward success as an effective lecturer. Using evidence-based principles, this review fosters adult learning in academic venues by incorporating the latest innovations in educational theory for both online and traditional teaching. The novice or advanced academic teacher will be guided toward critical self-evaluation of current teaching practices and encouraged to replace ineffective methods with ones more likely to be both rewarding and rewarded. By introducing literature-based learning techniques, emphasizing audience targeting, truncating content to an appropriate level of detail, effectively linking images and text, and accepting the brevity of learners’ attentiveness, we show that the audience, not the speaker, is the primary educational focus.
Conference Paper
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The frontiers of collaborative innovation are shifting "from optimizing within a complex system to adapting between complex systems." While greater cognitive diversity of team members boosts the quality of innovation breakthroughs, it also intensifies the difficulty of collaboration. Transdisciplinary (TD) collaboration-often the most diverse and disruptive form of innovation-includes hidden barriers that can undermine the achievement of impacts targeted. In this paper, we identify cognitive barriers to TD project launch, as well as mobilization activities shown to boost the likelihood of TD success. The benefits of these collaboration boosters include: a) growing the team's psychological resilience and flexibility for navigating unknowns and adversity; b) uncovering top opportunities, risks and leverage points in the collective field-of-effect; as well as, c) architecting narratives which translate complex experiences into meaningful explanations and contributions-as well as, attract and energize others to join the TD learning journey.
Thesis
Traditional scholarship on medieval sermons has approached them as delivered to the laity, rather than as experienced by them. In the well-trodden field of sermon studies, there has been an underlying assumption that the success or popularity of a sermon was chiefly determined by the rhetorical skill of their author and/or the performative skill of the preacher. Questions of how parishioners experienced the sermons, and how factors interacted with a sermon’s content to influence the reception of it, have been overlooked. The research undertaken for this thesis aimed to address these questions. This dissertation examines sermons alongside the socio-cultural, emotional and environmental contexts in which they were delivered. In doing so, it aims to explore the breadth of potential responses, and the complexity of the factors that might feed into those responses. This thesis, therefore, is an attempt to demonstrate a new way of approaching the huge body of extant sermons from late medieval England. Its methodology involves exploring as full a context – material, sensory, social and cultural – for various thematic aspects of sermons as is possible (as is done in Chapter One); and examining the potential emotive ‘call’ of various sermons, exempla and imagery, again contextualising culturally and socially as much as possible (as is done in Chapter Two, Three and Four). This leads (as in the Conclusion) to reflections on how ‘being Christian’ and ‘Christian belief’ might have been aroused or manifested for the laity. The concluding argument of this thesis is that the late medieval laity could engage with remarkable flexibility with late medieval sermons, and therefore with Christian belief itself.
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This article focuses on the judicial means used by environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) to overcome the Plaumann test, the particularly narrow scrutiny used by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to grant direct access in actions for annulment to private applicants. In spite of the major changes that have occurred in the EU legal order in the last decades (e.g. the adhesion of the EU to the Aarhus Convention, the adoption of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty), the Court has never amended its test. Therefore, the ultimate goal of this contribution is to highlight the arguments that ENGOs have generally used to mobilize to CJEU with regard to Plaumann and to reflect on how these arguments have evolved on the basis of an equally evolving EU legal system.
Article
Background Fisher (1985) argued that “there is no genre…that is not an episode in the story of life” (p. 347). As they incorporate moral claims, stories become ‘sticky,’ even when they are not accurate of fact, shifting listener beliefs, values, and sense of self. Purpose This study examined ‘sticky‘ storytelling and moral claims inherent in workplace bullying. Method Critical hermeneutic method nested within an integrative review served as the research approach, extending findings reported in published research reports and gray literature. Findings Through polished use of rhetorical style and resource control strategies within tacitly or explicitly supportive workplace contexts, bullies construct convincing but morally disengaged narratives—sticky stories—that violate ethical principles and yield moral ambiguity for their victims as they impede workplace productivity. Discussion Largely ineffective, policies aimed to stem bullying have done little to date to mitigate bullying's impact. Recognizing the moral storytelling characterizing workplace bullying might strengthen policy for constraining workplace bullying.
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This article is based on a terminological approach to the dilemma of how to differentiate between the phrases strategic communications and strategic communication, and whether it is necessary. On the basis of different contexts, it approaches the subject from a linguistic and terminological point of view, defining some basic terminological terms to assist the reader in understanding the analysis which follows. With this terminological approach it aims to establish whether, in practice, the two phrases function as synonyms or as two different concepts, and whether a clear-cut line can be established.
Chapter
Problem: Content overload. Solution: Enhanced targeting based on solid research. Market research institutes are sometimes considered the natural enemy by marketers. We would like to argue: relax. Research does not aim to replace creative instinct, but rather to feed it with empirical insight. After explaining why current market conditions make research-based targeting necessary, this article introduces the Sinus-Milieus target group model and positions it as the foundation for a content marketing strategy based on data, drama, design, and distribution. It concludes with a milieu-based discourse analysis of award-winning branded storytelling in the sportswear and automotive sectors.
Article
Patient-centered care promotes positive patient, staff, and organizational outcomes. Communication is one critical element of patient-centered care. Establishing a patient–provider relationship in which a patient feels comfortable sharing their goals, preferences, and values is important to support patient-centered care and positive health outcomes. The My Life, My Story (MLMS) program was developed in 2013 to elicit and share Veterans’ life stories with their healthcare providers. Life stories become part of the Veteran’s chart so providers can access, read, and utilize as appropriate. To evaluate the program’s sustained value and impact 5 years after implementation, healthcare staff were recruited to complete a short survey with closed and open-ended items. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the quantitative survey responses and thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative responses. Approximately 94% of staff indicated they had read MLMS notes and over 86% agreed or strongly agreed that reading the notes was a good use of their clinical time and helped them provide better treatment or care. Staff also described making more personalized decisions about the plan of treatment or care delivery after knowing the Veteran better from their story. Our findings suggest the MLMS program has been well sustained over time, and the use of patient stories in healthcare may be a valuable, practical, and sustainable tool to support the delivery of patient-centered care.
Article
This paper explores the commonalities of culture bound syndromes prevalent in hyper-independent cultures starting with Freud’s hysteria and ending with contemporary mass gun violence. Utilizing a complex systems lens this examination frames distress as suffering that goes beyond pathologizing an individual towards a collective cultural expression of pain. This is termed, unsoothability or a co-created, a multi causational, intersubjective systems phenomenon. A case vignette is included and implications for practice are touched upon.
Article
Objectives With our diverse training, theoretical and empirical toolkits, and rich data, evolutionary and biological anthropologists (EBAs) have much to contribute to research and policy decisions about climate change and other pressing social issues. However, we remain largely absent from these critical, ongoing efforts. Here, we draw on the literature and our own experiences to make recommendations for how EBAs can engage broader audiences, including the communities with whom we collaborate, a more diverse population of students, researchers in other disciplines and the development sector, policymakers, and the general public. These recommendations include: (1) playing to our strength in longitudinal, place‐based research, (2) collaborating more broadly, (3) engaging in greater public communication of science, (4) aligning our work with open‐science practices to the extent possible, and (5) increasing diversity of our field and teams through intentional action, outreach, training, and mentorship. Conclusions We EBAs need to put ourselves out there: research and engagement are complementary, not opposed to each other. With the resources and workable examples we provide here, we hope to spur more EBAs to action.
Chapter
Drawing on the science of storytelling and its impact on our brains—explained by studies in the field of neuroscience and two types of thinking—fast and slow—this chapter explores how consumers think while making brand choices and explains three laws drawing on neurosciences approaches to branding. The chapter also explains how stories make biochemical changes in consumers’ brains and influence their psychology and behaviour; and how marketers harness storytelling to affect consumers and drive their emotions. Several examples and case studies underline these behaviours.
Chapter
DeWitt and Langran consider the scholarship that addresses why place-based pedagogy can create transformative learning environments, what is known about the learning process, and the contextual issues associated with inclusion, equity, and empowerment of students from underrepresented or marginalized groups. Keeping this end goal of meaning-making in mind, educators can focus on providing authentic learning experiences, and the skills that are needed to transfer knowledge to new contexts, along with opportunities to observe and analyze complex phenomena from multiple angles. When critical place-based pedagogy is used to consider the social construction of place, takes into account the experiences students bring with them, and challenges preconceptions, it becomes possible for students to develop a deeper understanding of course material as well as play a transformative role in their communities. Key to understanding place is recognizing the multiplicity of perspectives and how spatial storytelling gives voice to and silences perspectives.
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Scenarios can be viewed as narratives about alternative futures. As such, they are a formalization of something everybody does naturally as they think about the future—imagine what might happen instead of what they expect to happen, and figure out how to make the alternative happen instead, if it is better than what is expected, or how to make sure it does not happen (or what to do if it does happen), if it is worse than what is expected. On the assumption that understanding this natural form of thinking ahead may be useful to those involved in scenario planning, the structure and uses of narrative thought are discussed, particularly in regard to how they result in what are commonly referred to as cognitive biases and to problems of reaching consensus in groups.
Article
This paper explores the particular role of narrative in developing futures literacy. As literacy denotes the ability to express and absorb meaning through language, enabling individuals to parse information and relate to others, then futures literacy also needs to draw on the insights of narrative to embrace its full emancipatory potential. We set out the importance of narrative in (1) framing, (2) shaping, and (3) critiquing the world-building techniques that form the foundation of futures thinking and futures literacy. These insights into the “storiness” of futurity, we argue, enhance critical reflexivity and illuminate our wider understanding of the dynamics that drive assumptions about the future(s). This paper offers three examples of how working with narrative tools can enhance futures literacy. First, we show how narrative theory can help us understand the limitations of the human imagination when it comes to futures thinking. Second, we offer an overview of how collaborative, character-led storytelling can activate an agentic relationship with uncertain and complex futures. Finally, we explore how speculative fiction reveals the importance of context in futures thinking. Overall, we demonstrate how proficiency in narrative theory and literary studies can shed more light on the cultural and ontological perspectives and specificities to be considered in how we anticipate and engage in futures thinking.
Article
The purpose of this viewpoint and critique is to provide theoretical considerations as to why virtual court may exacerbate the existing disadvantages of intimate partner violence victims in child removal cases. As a backdrop, this paper uses a report of an unnamed but actual victim of intimate partner abuse and her experience in a child removal case in Florida. There are numerous barriers for victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the Child Protective Services (CPS) system Virtual court may be another psychological barrier for female IPV victims in CPS cases
Chapter
Using classroom observation, interviews, and current research, both qualitative and quantitative, this chapter examines the focus children display when listening to oral stories. The authors propose that oral story listening contributes to the ability of students to focus (including those with attention issues), and explore scientific explanations for this. These include use of folk tales following the classic narrative arc, and physical responses when listening to narratives. Recent neurological studies on the development of the “narrative” or “reading” brain are also discussed. Together these demonstrate how, like shared reading, oral story listening helps in unique ways to develop emergent literacy skills including vocabulary and narrative understanding.
Article
Sexual sadists derive pleasure from humiliation, domination and infliction of pain on victims. They display increased penile arousal and activation of brain regions involved in sexual arousal and emotional states when viewing stimuli depicting individuals in physical distress. Neuroactive hormones modulate these regions, but it is unknown if sexual sadists also have endocrine responses to depictions of individuals in distress. The present study examined endocrine responses, elicited by viewing a video depicting an individual in extreme emotional distress, in incarcerated adult male sexual offenders (n = 23) with varying levels of sadistic traits. Sadism, was measured by the Severe Sexual Sadism Scale (SeSaS). Testosterone (T), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and oxytocin (OT) were assayed before and after participants watched a video depicting an individual in emotional distress. T responses to the video were significantly and positively associated with SeSaS scores. There were no significant associations between sexual sadism and OT or ACTH. Our findings provide physiological evidence of atypical processing of distress cues in sadism consistent with the role of testosterone in sexual arousal and aggressive behaviors. These findings have implications for the evaluation and treatment of sexual sadists.
Chapter
The challenges experienced by the founders of Scrum were similar to those faced by today’s sales organizations. This chapter describes what they are and how the Scrum framework addresses the issues faced by its founders. Introducing key concepts and terminology, helps readers to understand how Scrum works. Tracing back the history of Scrum to its very beginnings and philosophical roots, Chap. 2 also shows that Scrum is much more than a barren framework of roles, rules, and artifacts. The six elements that characterize Scrum have their origins in the thinking of ancient philosophers, time-proven management principles, and fundamental truths substantiated by numerous scientific disciplines. The military’s influence should not be forgotten, either, if one wants to grasp the nature of Scrum.
Chapter
Those in higher education stand on the cusp of an opportunity—an opportunity to fulfill the promise that higher education will provide access to liberty, freedom, resources, respect, ownership, and the ability to pursue happiness. The dominance of Eurocentric and Western knowledge, practices, beliefs, and perspectives in organizational leadership programs has yet to be disrupted. Consequently, many doctoral programs reinforce colonialism and White superiority instead of affirming and preparing students to work in a diverse and pluralistic society. This chapter presents some practical ways structural racism in higher education can be interrupted through a program overhaul and redesign to center justice and equity in all aspects of the program.
Article
The people of Ireland held, and continue to hold, as sacred their “holy wells.” The literary theme of cleansing upon a journey to the water source also continues well into the present day. To “heal” our current neglectful attitude and mind-set toward the planet, and therefore begin to improve our water supply, we must remember and promote both old and new cultural legends/stories. Accordingly, this paper contemplates three categories of children’s literature which serve to instill a sense of the higher-level need of environmental stewardship within young readers.
Article
In this article the authors pose a bold proposition that inquiry at the scale of the whole world is both possible and perhaps key to eclipsing seemingly irreversible problems and volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. They offer an ongoing case study of a mobilization of a world-wide inquiry and their experiences with the generative power of story-getting and story-sharing.
Chapter
This study investigates the relationship between e-learning and disciplinary teaching through the magnifying lens of narration, understood as a cognitive tool for learning. Applied in a digital environment, narrative learning is particularly effective because it favours a kind of transformative learning able to create Communities of inquiry where the knowledge is constructed through critical reflection and shared with others. The contribution is divided in two parts. The first part explores the ways in which e-learning, thanks to a renewed methodological awareness, can reshape the university disciplinary teaching by fostering the development of new interdisciplinary relationships. In the second part, an empirical research on the use of narrative as a teaching tool in e-learning activities such as Virtual Labs and e-Portfolio exercises is presented.
Article
In mediation and negotiation, we sometimes encounter people who make decisions that seem to be inconsistent with what they say they care about and want, and with their alternatives to settlement. Some seemingly irrational decisions may be a result of automatic, intuitive moral judgments, which are best approached at a corresponding intuitive level. Social scientists have identified two “systems” of thinking: an automatic, quick process made outside of awareness (System 1), and an effortful, deliberate, logical, conscious one (System 2). In their social intuitionist model and moral foundations theory, Jonathan Haidt and colleagues propose that individuals make automatic, quick, intuitive moral judgments along five universal moral domains: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. These moral judgments are difficult to engage with reasoned arguments. A seemingly irrational party may be in the midst of an intuitive moral judgment that is not logic‐based. The literature on these and related lines of research explains when and why a mediator should seek to explore whether a party’s assessments may be a result of intuitive moral judgments, and if so, ways a mediator could communicate with the party on that level. This may be done most effectively by shifting the focus within or to another relevant moral domain, using moral reframing, and making liberal use of stories in communicating alternative intuitive moral perspectives. These methods engage on an intuitive level.
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Pela exploração de narrativas sobre o Mundo Natural este trabalho propõe uma comunicação professor-aluno mais provocativa, potenciando maior aproximação à Ciência através de novos instrumentos pedagógicos. Como exemplos que ligam as práticas científicas à realidade quotidiana três livros sobre Biodiversidade e Sustentabilidade para diferentes públicos são apresentados em contexto educativo formal (escolas) e não-formal (Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra. Com base numa análise caracterizadora das histórias, e de ensaios que se revelaram facilitadores da motivação, compreensão e assimilação de conhecimento, sugerem-se linhas orientadoras e uma dinamização educativa alternativa na prossecução dos curricula escolares. A integrar regularmente no ensino das Ciências Naturais, estes diálogos em storytelling, sendo agregadores de interesses de docentes e estudantes, captam a atenção, estimulam a criatividade e predispõem para novas aprendizagens, práticas reflexivas e interventivas. Palavras-chave: Ciência. Educação.
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This essay introduces a neurologically-informed mathematical model of collective action (CA) that reveals the role for empathy and distress in motivating costly helping behaviors. We report three direct tests of model with a key focus on the neuropeptide oxytocin as well as a variety of indirect tests. These studies, from our lab and other researchers, show support for the model. Our findings indicate that empathic concern, via the brain's release of oxytocin, is a trigger for CA. We discuss the implications from this model for our understanding why human beings engage in costly CA.
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This paper presents a neurophysiologic model of effective public service advertisements (PSAs) and reports two experiments that test the model. In Experiment 1, we show that after watching 16 PSAs participants who received oxytocin, compared to those given a placebo, donated to 57% more causes, donated 56% more money, and reported 17% greater concern for those in the ads. In Experiment 2, we measured adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) and oxytocin levels in blood before and after participants watched a PSA. As predicted by the model, donations occurred when participants had increases in both ACTH and oxytocin. Our results indicate that PSAs with social content that cause OT release will be more effective than those that do not. Our results also explain why some individuals do not respond to PSAs.
Article
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Empathy is related to a variety of prosocial behaviors, but the brain mechanisms producing the experience of empathy have not been fully characterized. This study investigated whether the experience of empathy raises oxytocin levels and affects subsequent generosity toward strangers. Short video clips of an emotional scene and an unemotional scene were used as stimuli. Participants rated the emotions they experienced and then played a $40 ultimatum game to gauge their generosity. We found that empathy was associated with a 47% increase in oxytocin from baseline. We also found the empathy-oxytocin response was stronger in women than in men. Higher levels of empathy were also associated with more generous monetary offers toward strangers in the ultimatum game. Our findings provide the first evidence that oxytocin is a physiologic signature for empathy and that empathy mediates generosity.
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Trust pervades human societies. Trust is indispensable in friendship, love, families and organizations, and plays a key role in economic exchange and politics. In the absence of trust among trading partners, market transactions break down. In the absence of trust in a country's institutions and leaders, political legitimacy breaks down. Much recent evidence indicates that trust contributes to economic, political and social success. Little is known, however, about the biological basis of trust among humans. Here we show that intranasal administration of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in non-human mammals, causes a substantial increase in trust among humans, thereby greatly increasing the benefits from social interactions. We also show that the effect of oxytocin on trust is not due to a general increase in the readiness to bear risks. On the contrary, oxytocin specifically affects an individual's willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions. These results concur with animal research suggesting an essential role for oxytocin as a biological basis of prosocial approach behaviour.
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Human beings routinely help strangers at costs to themselves. Sometimes the help offered is generous-offering more than the other expects. The proximate mechanisms supporting generosity are not well-understood, but several lines of research suggest a role for empathy. In this study, participants were infused with 40 IU oxytocin (OT) or placebo and engaged in a blinded, one-shot decision on how to split a sum of money with a stranger that could be rejected. Those on OT were 80% more generous than those given a placebo. OT had no effect on a unilateral monetary transfer task dissociating generosity from altruism. OT and altruism together predicted almost half the interpersonal variation in generosity. Notably, OT had twofold larger impact on generosity compared to altruism. This indicates that generosity is associated with both altruism as well as an emotional identification with another person.
Conference Paper
Neurophysiological compliance is a correlation of neurophysiological measures (synchronicity) between individuals. Higher compliance among team members is related to better performance, and higher synchronicity occurs during emotional moments of a stimulus. The aim of the current study is to examine whether synchrony may be observable via peripheral nervous system (PNS) activity. We used inter-subject correlation (ISC) analysis to assess whether synchronicity of PNS measures are related to stimulus emotionality or similarity in behavioral responses. Participants viewed a 100-second emotional video, followed by an appeal to donate experimental earnings to a related charity. We found high ISC for cardiac and electrodermal activity (EDA) between donors versus non-donors. For both groups, we found an association between ISC of cardiac activity and emotional moments in the stimulus. For non-donors we found an association between ISC of EDA and emotional moments. Our findings indicate that PNS measures yield similar results to neurophysiological measures.
Article
Positive social interactions, including affiliations and social bonds, dominate the behavioral repertoire of humans and many higher vertebrates. Pair bonding is an evolved trait and may play a critical role in reproduction, as well as in individual and species survival. The neurobiology of pair bonding or other forms of social affiliation are most readily understood in this context. The purpose of this chapter is to examine mechanisms underlying social affiliation and social bonds, including research from rodents, sheep, and primates. We also discuss these findings in light of phylogeny, ontogeny, and the clinical implications of social bonding. Various forms of positive social behaviors, including pair bonding and maternal-infant behavior, rely on shared neural and endocrine systems. Steroid hormones, although integral to social and maternal bonding, do not exclusively code for these events; they also influence sexual behavior, feeding behavior, and exploratory behavior and thus have the recruiting capacity for a wide range of neural as well as somatic systems. Steroid hormones have their action in the brain by binding to DNA motifs at the promoter regions of certain genes, many of which code for neuropeptides and their receptors. Among the neuropeptides that support the formation and coordinate the autonomic and behavior states associated with bonding are oxytocin, endogenous opioids, vasopressin, and corticotropin-releasing hormone.
Article
Political scientists have documented the many ways in which trust influences attitudes and behaviors that are important for the legitimacy and stability of democratic political systems. They have also explored the social, economic, and political factors that tend to increase levels of trust in others, in political figures, and in government. Neuroeconomic studies have shown that the neuroactive hormone oxytocin, a peptide that plays a key role in social attachment and affiliation in non-human mammals, is associated with trust and reciprocity in humans (e.g., Kosfeld et al., Nature 435:673–676, 2005; Zak et al., Horm Beh 48:522–527, 2005). While oxytocin has been linked to indicators of interpersonal trust, we do not know if it extends to trust in government actors and institutions. In order to explore these relationships, we conducted an experiment in which subjects were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or 40 IU of oxytocin administered intranasally. We show that manipulating oxytocin increases individuals’ interpersonal trust. It also has effects on trust in political figures and in government, though only for certain partisan groups and for those low in levels of interpersonal trust.
Article
Humans frequently sacrifice resources to help others—even strangers. The proximate mechanisms inducing such sacrifices are not well understood, and we hypothesized that touch might provoke a sacrifice of money to a stranger. We found that touch significantly elevated circulating oxytocin (OT) levels but only when it was followed by an intentional act of trust. Touch followed by trust increased monetary sacrifice by 243% relative to untouched controls. We also found that women were more susceptible than men to OT release and monetary sacrifice after touch. This suggests that touch draws on physiologic mechanisms that support cooperative behaviors in humans.
Article
To investigate the effects of an ethologically-relevant stressor on central and peripheral release of arginine vasopressin and oxytocin, we forced adult male Wistar rats to swim for 10 min and simultaneously measured the release of the two peptides (i) within the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei (by means of the microdialysis technique) and (ii) into the blood (by chronically-implanted jugular venous catheters). Forced swimming caused a significant rise in the release of arginine vasopressin and oxytocin within both the supraoptic nuclei (four-fold and three-fold, respectively) and the paraventricular nuclei (three-fold and four- to five-fold, respectively). Release patterns measured before, during and after repeated stress exposure on three consecutive days indicated that, at the level of the hypothalamus, the two neuropeptides are critically involved in the rats' stress response in a peptide-, locus- and stress-specific manner. Particularly, despite a general reduction of the recovery of the microdialysis probes over the time, the release of arginine vasopressin within the paraventricular nuclei and of oxytocin within the supraoptic nuclei tended to increase upon repeated stress exposure. Measurement of plasma peptide concentrations revealed that the central release of oxytocin was accompanied by a secretion of this peptide into the systemic circulation. In contrast, arginine vasopressin, assayed in the same plasma samples, failed to respond to the stressor. The latter finding is consistent with a dissociated release of the neuropeptide from different parts of a single neuron (soma/dendrites vs axon terminals). It provides evidence that under physiological conditions plasma hormone levels do not necessarily reflect the secretory activity of central components of the respective neuropeptidergic system.
Article
This is the first report that endogenous oxytocin in humans is related to social behaviors, which is consistent with a large animal literature. Subjects are put into a social dilemma in which absent communication, cooperative behavior can benefit both parties randomly assigned to a dyad. The dilemma arises because one participant must make a monetary sacrifice to signal the degree of trust in the other before the other's behavioral response is known. We show that receipt of a signal of trust is associated with a higher level of peripheral oxytocin than that in subjects receiving a random monetary transfer of the same average amount. Oxytocin levels were also related to trustworthy behavior (sharing a greater proportion of the monetary gains). We conclude that oxytocin may be part of the human physiology that motivates cooperation.
Article
Human beings exhibit substantial interpersonal trust-even with strangers. The neuroactive hormone oxytocin facilitates social recognition in animals, and we examine if oxytocin is related to trustworthiness between humans. This paper reports the results of an experiment to test this hypothesis, where trust and trustworthiness are measured using the sequential anonymous "trust game" with monetary payoffs. We find that oxytocin levels are higher in subjects who receive a monetary transfer that reflects an intention of trust relative to an unintentional monetary transfer of the same amount. In addition, higher oxytocin levels are associated with trustworthy behavior (the reciprocation of trust). Absent intentionality, both the oxytocin and behavioral responses are extinguished. We conclude that perceptions of intentions of trust affect levels of circulating oxytocin.
Article
In addition to various reproductive stimuli, the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is released both from the neurohypophysial terminal into the blood stream and within distinct brain regions in response to stressful or social stimuli. Brain OXT receptor-mediated actions were shown to be significantly involved in the regulation of a variety of behaviours. Here, complementary methodological approaches are discussed which were utilised to reveal, for example, anxiolytic and anti-stress effects of OXT, both in females and in males, effects that were localised within the central amygdala and the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Also, in male rats, activation of the brain OXT system is essential for the regulation of sexual behaviour, and increased OXT system activity during mating is directly linked to an attenuated anxiety-related behaviour. Moreover, in late pregnancy and during lactation, central OXT is involved in the establishment and fine-tuned maintenance of maternal care and maternal aggression. In monogamous prairie voles, brain OXT is important for mating-induced pair bonding, especially in females. Another example of behavioural actions of intracerebral OXT is the promotion of social memory processes and recognition of con-specifics, as revealed in rats, mice, sheep and voles. Experimental evidence suggests that, in humans, brain OXT exerts similar behavioural effects. Thus, the brain OXT system seems to be a potential target for the development of therapeutics to treat anxiety- and depression-related diseases or abnormal social behaviours including autism.
Article
In this column, we discuss a version of the utility maximization hypothesis that can be tested--and we find that it is false. We review empirical challenges to utility maximization, which return to the old question of whether preferences optimize the experience of outcomes. Much of this work has focused on a necessary condition for utility-maximizing choices: an ability of economic agents to make accurate, or at least unbiased, forecasts of the hedonic outcomes of potential choices. The research we review shows that this condition is not satisfied: people do not always know what they will like; they often make systematic errors in predicting their future experience of outcomes and, as a result, fail to maximize their experienced utility. We discuss four areas in which errors of hedonic forecasting and choice have been documented: 1) where the emotional or motivational state of the agent is very different at t0 and at t1; 2) where the nature of the decision focuses attention on aspects of the outcome that will not be salient when it is actually experienced; 3) when choices are made on the basis of flawed evaluations of past experiences; and 4) when people forecast their future adjustment to new life circumstances.
The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity
  • P J Zak
P.J. Zak, "The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity," (New York: Dutton, 2012).
Neural Response to Narratives Framed with Sacred Values
  • S Gimbel
  • J Kaplan
  • M Immordino-Yang
  • C A Tipper
  • M Gordon
  • S Dehghani
  • H Sagae
  • A Damasio
  • Damasio
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