SSD Keynote Lecture by Dr. Jonathan Gottschall
April 10, 2013
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Kirkhof Center 2204
More Information: http://www.gvsu.edu/ours/ssd/
Department of English, Washington & Jefferson College
Jonathan Gottschall writes books at the intersection of science and art. He is a leading figure in a new movement to bridge the divide between the two cultures of the sciences and the humanities. His most recent work, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection), draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and biology to show how storytelling has evolved as a fundamental human instinct. Jonathan teaches in the English Department at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and blogs about the mysteries of storytelling at Psychology Today.
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?
Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more “truthy” than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler’s ambitions were partly fueled by a story.
But as Gottschall shows in this remarkable book, stories can also change the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.