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Storytelling, Empathy and Impact

December 20, 2012

In this video edited by Kirby Ferguson ‘The Future of Storytelling’, neurochemist Paul Zak talks about his research into how empathetic responses are produced (and essentially how they might be manipulated), and how such responses can impact on our actions. Stories that have a traditional narrative arc are more likely to illicit such responses, and make us more likely say, to donate money. Really interesting and, naturally, moving.

But this gets me thinking again about how the science maps onto the museum experience, and the environments we create, both online and offline, for such interactions. What is it that we want to make people do or take away from an empathetic engagement?  What are the frames within which people might understand that call to empathy? Or indeed reject it?

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