The Narrative Brain

Abstract by Fritz Breithaupt

Why do we love stories? Life is experienced more intensely when we are enmeshed in stories – I narrate, therefore I am. But it is not only our own lives that are heightened by narratives; through narratives we are also able to transform individual experience into shared experience. To achieve this, our brains and the ways in which we tell stories must be attuned to each other. But how exactly does this happen? And what makes a story a good story?

In this talk, Fritz will draw on the latest scientific research including neuroscience and experiments where thousands of participants play the telephone game (Stille Post Spiele) to discuss the structure of successful narratives that people co-experience. The reward of narrative thinking, it turns out, is emotional, and we live the way we live because we follow the specific reward patterns of narratives. Yet at the same time, things can always turn out differently in narratives, and it is precisely this fact that allows us to try out different versions of our own lives.

> Deutsche Version