Storytelling and behaviour change

Once Upon A Time

A new article suggests stories can not only change the way we think but the way we behave; that a compelling narrative can challenge our fixed ideas about the world and open our minds to new possibilities.

The National Creative Director of BBC Media Action (India), Radharani Mitra, recently attended a conference where narrative-based interventions were discussed at length.

Thanks to ‘narrative transportation’ (being so swept up in a story that the real world fades away) stories can increase support for real-world issues like soft drink consumption, smoking, obesity and cancer screenings.

As she explains, the mechanism behind how storytelling can bring about behaviour change is simple – by taking us out of reality, our natural instinct to protect and argue for our position on a given idea is circumvented. With our defences down, we can relate to the characters in the story and empathise with them. When we come back to reality, different outcomes are possible.

This story about stories is a fascinating read on the science of effective storytelling to bring about change.

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Life story on book by Trung Bui Viet