I stumbled across this infographic a number of weeks ago and it popped up on my radar again this morning. I’ve always found the link between art and science fascinating. Science tests evidence against experience. Art is where your imagination meets experience. In an ever evolving and complex world, science broadens our collective knowledge and art brings us together.
Below, I’ve typed out two of the most interesting portions of the infographic. If anyone knows of its original source, please let me know.
Why is Telling a Story so Much More Memorable than the Bare Facts?
When you listen to a PowerPoint presentation about a topic in bullet point form, there are two parts of the brain which are activated; the Brocas’ Area and the Wernicke’s area. These are simply the language processing area of the brain where words are turned into meaning, but nothing else.
However, when we are being told a story not only are these language centers in the brain activated, but also the areas of the brain associated with experiencing the story’s events come to life, too.
For example, if the story includes an action such as kicking or running, the motor cortex of the brain will be stimulated. If the story has details such as mentioning someone’s “hands like leather,” our sensory response will light up. The brain reacts as if you were experiencing the story first hand.
Why You Should Avoid Cliches in Your Writing
Researchers in Spain performed a study on how the brain reacted to several different types of words. They found that common figures of speech such as “a rough day” have become so familiar to our brains that they are interpreted only as words.
These cliches might have evoked a sensory response in the brain when they were first used, but since the reader has seen them so many times before, they no longer have the same impact.
This is why good writing avoids cliches whenever possible, in favor of new and creative ways to evoke the reader’s senses.