Studying the Effects of How the Mind Reacts to Stories - A Viable Pursuit Indeed

There was an interesting article recently in Live Science Online News on October 11, 2011 titled, "Military Seeks Sensor to Gauge Brain's Reaction to Stories," by Stuart Fox, InnovationNewsDaily Assistant Editor. The article stated that,

"DARPA plans to not only figure out why hearing or reading a particular story may change someone's life, but also plans on developing sensors that can scan people's brains to identify those changes. Narratives exert a powerful influence on human thoughts and behavior. They consolidate memory, shape emotions, cue heuristics, and biases in judgment, influence in-group/out-group distinctions, and may affect the fundamental contents of personal identity."

Think about this for a moment, it's true that humans take stories seriously, and it is amazing how tales foretold tend to stick in the memory. It's also interesting how stories over the generations evolve and meld with the culture, shaping it, and holding it together. Nations, religions, cultures, all held together by what - stories, tales, and narratives. Amazing isn't it? So, it makes a lot of sense that we ought to study this.

For instance consider the challenges we have in education, corporate training, or even keeping people working together for the common cause of our society or civilization? Stories help, they help break the ice, they help for comic relief, they help say things that are often difficult, but telling something through a story - well it works doesn't it? Thus, we ought to use stories as much as possible.

The piece went on to add; "they change the course of insurgencies, frame negotiations, play a role in political radicalization, influence the methods and goals of violent social movements, and likely play a role in clinical conditions important to the military such as post-traumatic stress disorder."

Wow, see those points? Now then, let's switch gears here and let me tell you a though I had for this rather intriguing DARPA project about storytelling. I have some thoughts I'd like to share with you, okay so, here is the idea; The human voice box rattles or gives off a change in vibrational frequency when someone is of a very strong belief on the topic they are discussing.

This happens in business with branding, with devoted religious folks, or with anyone telling a story they truly believe in. It also has a way of coming out in writing, where folks can feel the emotional content. Perhaps someone like Steve Jobs or a fast mover in the political scene can do the same, perhaps a reverend or religious leader, and I bet this can be simulated by laying multiple tracks over speeches or instructional videos too.

I am somewhat sensitive to these vibrations, and I note my mind taking interest when these 'rattling vibrations' occur in other's voices, in fact, I am of no-religion, but when a devout person starts their spiel about their "religious wakening" or born-again moment, I find my mind shifting gears as if operating on a secondary brain wave.

Interestingly enough, I also note my own voice rattles, as I am very solid in my beliefs of such things as free-market capitalism, country, winning, and my company. When I am, I see people stop and take notice, as if I've captured them for a moment to insert my view points and vision. So, I think there is something to it, and it would stand to reason based on such historical things like "pipe-organ music" in churches and their vibrational frequency and the large number of enthralled followers.

Although, I've never read anything explaining all this, I feel there is something more here, something that could explain why stories "capture our imagination" and perhaps why we even use the word "capture" in the first place, see that point.


1.) Have some humans, through gene expression, evolved to have stronger voice box vibrational ability?
2.) Can humans through practice hone this vibrational ability in their voices.
3.) Would practiced singers be able to do this? Is that why church's get large numbers to join their choirs?
4.) Does bowing and praying in the Muslim world cause shock waves to move forward and back during the rocking motion of praying, as savants often rock back and forth, thus triggering memory inducing brain waves?
5.) Does human passion cause certain chemicals in the body to react in engaging vocal cords? It would stand to reason.
6.) Did this ability help in the coming together of human troops, tribes, groups, communities, nationalities, cultures, religions, countries, movements?

Yes, well, as you can see, I have so many questions on all this and speculations, and theories, if you are also intrigued by this, maybe we should talk? You see, I am a writer (hobby writer), and have this storytelling ability apparently, which served me well in business, sales, marketing, and branding. It's also been good to me as a writer. So, maybe we can help reform education, train folks better, allow for better memory uptake, and then, move the ball forward by doing what comes natural for human learning, and socialization.

In fact, I think this could be tested, simulated, and we could even use what we learn to mellow out problematic societies and rogue regimes that threaten the life-experience of human populations. Interesting isn't it? Yes, all of it is, so please consider this and think on it.

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