The Science Behind Why Story Works So Darn Well


Stories have been shown to...

increase prosocial actions, like donations of scarce resources such as time, money, and organs, and to encourage behaviors that reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases.

Stories also shape the way we view ourselves and others: They reduce social stigma, increase the ability to empathize, deepen understanding of our identities, and promote subjective well-being.

The most cynical of consumers are willing to pay more for items, to overlook negative information about a business, and heed other consumers’ recommendations — when encountered in the form of a story. Stories are much more than mere vehicles of entertainment; they incite, inspire, and move their audiences to act in ways that are meaningful and create long-lasting change. 


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Did you know that our brains process a story differently than a rational argument? Cool, huh?

We have all fallen under the spell of story, with its seemingly magical ability to transport us to far-flung destinations and provide a door into the minds of unknown others. But the master storyteller is not just a magician; she wields a powerful weapon, all the more formidable because its impact often goes consciously undetected by the target of its influence.

Our approach to storytelling is largely informed by two scientific concepts:


narrative transportation

Ever have that feeling of getting lost in a story? Where you lose any awareness of your surroundings and become so engaged in the story that you see nothing else? 

This is a state that scientific literature calls narrative transportation, and it turns out to be a critical part of changing perspectives and driving action with your story.

When people are transported into your story, they are far more likely to adopt beliefs that are consistent with that story. So the key here is to develop a story structure that maximally engages your audience so that they may be transported. 

character identification

More than liking a character in a story, character identification happens when we take the perspective of that character and it's as though we are experiencing the story through their eyes.

Neuroimaging shows that the brain of somebody watching a story can actually mimic that of the person inside the story. When identification with a character is strong, your audience will feel the story as real, and they'll internalize the goals of the character.

So say you're trying to get people to donate to your cause or download your app. If they experience strong character identification and the character in the story liked your nonprofit or business, then the audience member will too. And they feel this character's story as if it had happened to them. 


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So if you do something that you believe more people should know about, strong storytelling is the key.

At Muse Storytelling, we focus on finding and developing the strongest story possible. That story-finding process can take from weeks to months, depending on the possible place we need to hunt.

We then bring that to life in a film. 

Now, before anything else, we start by understanding your objectives— the outcomes you're looking to achieve. The story finding, story development, and film production are then all engineered to transport the audience and create identification with the characters.

When that happens, perspectives change, action happens, and the connection to your brand or mission skyrockets.

Learn all about our film production right here.


If you want to learn more, sign up and grab our free ebook.

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