It’s in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens.
When we are being told a story though, things change dramatically found researchers in Spain. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain, that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.
In practice, I’ve found this to be true. As I’ve worked more stories into conference presentations I give, it’s what people truly remember. A recent client who recognized me from a talk I gave earlier this year asked me “weren’t you the milkshakes and locomotives guy?” (two of the stories in my talk).
Stories help people remember, connect, and ultimately evoke change in their lives. This is the science of why that is.