The Really Big Question -"What’s Your Story?"

DESCRIPTION: Why do we tell stories? Evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson says: "storytelling is far more fundamentally human than even human beings realize." Stories allow us to re-live our emotions, Wilson says. Stories also reflect the human the impulse to find causes and explanations for events in life, researchers say. But what are the costs of storytelling? Research shows that stories can mesmerize us: we approach stories less critically than other types of information and our behavior and beliefs are influenced by stories, even those we know are false, according to the work of psychologist Melanie Green.

In this hour of "The Really Big Questions," Dean Olsher talks with scientists of story and expert storytellers about the costs and benefits of our love affair with stories, and what our interest in stories tells us about the human mind.

Guests include:

EO Wilson, evolutionary biologist at Harvard University and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, explains how the mind is wired for storytelling.
Andrew Gordon, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California, is trying to build a computer that can tell a story.
Anne Bogart, theatre director and author of What's the Story, explains the process of translating stories for the stage--and why she thinks stories can help us save us from our distraction-filled modern life.
Writer AJ Jacobs comes clean about his mixed feelings about stories.
Psychologist Melanie Green explains that stories influence our behavior and beliefs even when we know a story is false.
Chang'aa Mweti, storyteller and professor of education at the University of Minnesota Duluth, explains the role of stories in Kenya, where he grew up.
Psychologist Raymond Mar discusses his research indicating that reading fiction can build empathy.

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