vendredi 2 février 2018


For a long time, analyzing stories and their functions was limited to humanities (literature, linguistics,...). Recently, social sciences (anthropology, psychology, evolutionary psychology,...) and sciences (neuroscience,...) invested more in the research of this topic.

Bibliometry 101

Searching Scopus, a multidisciplinary database representative of the publications in science in the world, we observe an increasing number of articles with storytell* in a selection of search fields: for example in Title and Keywords. Finally, we compare with two other terms: a common term like analysis and a top-fashion term like machine learning.

 Two recent articles

« Telling stories: more sex and better cooperation »

  • Anthropology survey of Agta hunter-gatherers tribes in Philippines:
    • Smith, Daniel, Philip Schlaepfer, Katie Major, Mark Dyble, Abigail E. Page, James Thompson, Nikhil Chaudhary et al. « Cooperation and the Evolution of Hunter-Gatherer Storytelling ». Nature Communications 8, no 1 (5 décembre 2017), no. 1853. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02036-8. [open access]
  • The evidences lead to correlations allowing to claim : 
    • Good storytellers have more kids and receive more ressources ;
      • elder individuals are significantly more skilled storytellers ;
      • women are slightly better storytellers than men ;
    • Telling stories in group reinforce values of these stories, mainly cooperation, and social and sex equality.

« Reading stories: coded in our brain deeper than language »

  • A neuroscience study : Dehghani, Morteza, Reihane Boghrati, Kingson Man, Joe Hoover, Sarah I. Gimbel, Ashish Vaswani, Jason D. Zevin et al. « Decoding the Neural Representation of Story Meanings across Languages ». Human Brain Mapping 38, no 12 (1 décembre 2017), 6096‑6106. doi:10.1002/hbm.23814.
  • Human brain is universally structured in the same way to be able to understand stories whatever the language or the culture.
    • MRI scan of readers brains in 3 languages (english, chinese and farsi) : the researchers can determine which stories which brain in reading.
    • It takes place in the default mode network, known for « searching for narratives, retrieving autobiographical memories, and influencing the way we think relating to the past, present, and future, and our relationships with others.» s
    • Stories help us making sense of the world we live in.

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