Many stories are about people--their mental states, their relationships -- even stories with inanimate objects, may have human-like characteristics. Mar explains that we understand stories using basic cognitive functions, and there is not a special module in the brain that allows us to do this. Understanding stories is similar to the way we understand the real world. We're relying not just on words on a page, but also our own past experiences," Mar says.
We often have thoughts and emotions that are consistent with what's going on in a story.
According to Mar, social outcomes that could come out of being exposed to narrative fiction can include exposure to social content, reflecting on past social interactions, or imagining future interactions. We may gain insight into things that have happened in the past that relates to a character in a story, and resonates with our experiences.
According to one study, over 75 percent of books typically read to preschoolers frequently reference mental states, and include very complex things such as false-belief or situational irony.
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In , Mar and colleagues published a study which found that parents that were able to recognize children's authors and book titles predicted their child's performance on theory-of-mind tests. Theory-of-mind tests included testing if a child is able to understand that someone may prefer broccoli over a cookie, and how that is unique from their own desire for the cookie.
Parental recognition of adult book titles or author's had no effect on their child's performance-- the result was very specific to children's books. Mar cautions that the studies available are correlations, which do not provide an explanation of causation, and more research is necessary to understand why these correlations exist.
Mar's study also illustrates that exposure to movies predicted better theory-of-mind test performance in children. The object lesson worth drawing from this story is that just one instance of bad science given the blessing of recognized experts can lead to years of damaging lies that snowball out of control. He began by saying,. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet - there is where the bullet went through - and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.
Bush using a psychopathy trait estimates derived from personality data completed by historical experts on each president, b independent historical surveys of presidential leadership, and c largely or entirely objective indicators of presidential performance. More than experts, including biographers, journalists and scholars who are established authorities on one or more U.
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As much as we'd rather not admit it, jerks often get ahead in our world -- usually at the expense of a lot of other people along the way. Psychological research over the past few years is revealing why. As it turns out, acting like a jerk isn't the secret to reaping the rewards of jerkiness. The real secret is simply letting others place you on a pedestal. In one of several related experiments, researchers had people take a geography quiz —first alone, then in pairs.
Can fiction stories make us more empathetic?
The task involved placing cities on a map of North America unmarked by state or national borders. The participants rated themselves on their own abilities and rated each other, secretly, on a number of qualities. As expected, most people rated their own geographic knowledge far higher than actual performance would justify.
And so it is with rudeness, because while most of us deplore it, research suggests that we also see it as a sign of power. Though I would like to see a follow on study that examines observer perceptions when the rude rule breakers are caught. In fact, they don't even have to try. They just need to work their trade and earn the praise of their peers.
People who have suffered major stress, such as soldiers returning from combat, often report that they no longer find pleasure in these things. Mice respond in a similar way to traumatic events, Chaudhury says. And his research shows that this response can be prevented by reducing the activity of certain brain cells involved in the reward system.
Growing Things and Other Stories
Group thinking has been a popular topic in behavioral research for a long time, particularly so in the last couple of decades. But if you add another mind to the mix, then theoretically a buffer against some of those biases has been introduced, and better judgments should result. Researchers tested this hypothesis with subjects, dividing them into a group of individual decision-makers and a group of partners referred to as dyads.
The results showed that the dyads were more confident in their responses than individuals, and also chose to ignore advisor input more often than individuals. The reason why has everything to do with the confidence-buttressing effect of two people working together. The same goes for a couple choosing a mortgage or a car, Minson adds.
A World-Famous Pastry Chef's Heartbreaking Regret
Researchers tackled this question in a new study that suggests our brains become bundles of hyper-reactive nerve cells as the sleepless hours tick by. During waking hours, the brain accumulates connections between nerve cells as new things are learned. Sleep, the theory says, sweeps the brain of extraneous clutter, leaving behind only the most important connections.
Neurogenesis is a wonderful word that means our brains continue to grow new neurons throughout our lifetimes. With time, neuroscience research uncovered two parts of the brain that evidence neurogenesis: the hippocampus, associated with memory formation, and the olfactory bulb, associated with the sense of smell. But when they became adults, the mice fed a high fat diet showed four times the neurogenesis of the normal mice, and gained significantly more weight and had much higher fat mass. To make sure that the new neurons were actually correlating with the weight gain, the researchers killed the neurons in some of the mice with focused X-rays.
Good thing there are a few other primates on the planet to set us straight. As it turns out, they also have a distinctive U-shaped curve, and it looks a lot like ours. Odd as it may sound, the answer is probably closely related to the function of sleep.