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Researchers observed "inter-brain coherence" (IBC) — a synchronisation in brain activity — between a musician and the audience.
In such states of creative divergent thinking, the body is aroused and the pupils become dilated.
Will Storr has written a masterful guide to writing with "The Science of Storytelling."
- In "The Science of Storytelling," journalist Will Storr investigates the science behind great storytelling.
- While good plots are important, Storr writes that great stories revolve around complex characters.
- As in life, readers are drawn to flawed characters, yet many writers become too attached to their protagonists.
Will Storr, author of 'The Heretics', appears at a photocall prior to an event at the 30th Edinburgh International Book Festival, on August 13, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images<h2>The Many Us</h2><p>Many writers fail because they become too emotionally invested in their protagonist, which is often constructed from pieces of the writer. Another way to phrase it: the writer must be willing to expose their own flaws. </p><p>The Buddhist concept of no-self derives from the idea that none of us are ever one single thing. We're influenced by the environment we're in and the people we're around and the amount of caffeine we drink. We have much less willpower at night than in the morning. Our goals and desires shift by the hour. We are many people throughout the day. </p><p>"The difference," Storr writes, "is that in life, unlike in story, the dramatic question of who we are never has a final and truly satisfying answer." Humans are complex animals. We love stories that make us the hero. To be heroic requires recognizing the many conflicting desires and thoughts that make us what we are.</p><h2>The Hero's Journey</h2><p>Which is really what all of this is about: championing the hero. "Stories are tribal propaganda," Storr concludes. The modern storyteller is working with a different landscape than those past. "A unique quality of humans is that we've evolved the ability to <em>think</em> our way into many tribes simultaneously." We're no longer bound by the traditional tribal structure that dominated for hundreds of thousands of years, nor the caste system that commenced with the development of Harappan civilization. Today's hero transcends prior boundaries. </p><p>Though we cannot write off tribalism completely. We're still biologically Stone Age. Just because we have an opportunity to grow does not mean everyone chooses to. "A tribal challenge is existentially disturbing." </p><p>We all believe in stories, and all stories are inventions. If we lose our own hero narrative, depression and anxiety are certain to follow, so invested in our stories have we become. The best storytellers carry their hero through to the end. Their flaws result in transformation. It's what we all crave in a story because it's what we all desire, regardless of how illusive notions of control and closure actually are. </p><p>For the time being, while we're here, we're storytelling animals. Will Storr has contributed a wonderful guide of how to master the craft of invention. To pull a random quote from the formative years of my childhood, as Axl Rose sang, use your illusion. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is "</em><em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
A new study finds that societies use the same acoustic features for the same types of songs, suggesting universal cognitive mechanisms underpinning world music.
- Every culture in the world creates music, though stylistic diversity hides their core similarities.
- A new study in Science finds that cultures use identifiable acoustic features in the same types of songs and that tonality exists worldwide.
- Music is one of hundreds of human universals ethnographers have discovered.
The universal qualities of world music<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjExMzgwNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzA0ODkwMn0.kn6h3Y4O8NH_xymsbrdRuQXNkWC-LAVTFLIYCIG-MtM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C187%2C0%2C12&height=700" id="da9e0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1d52f66e4fc3ab559196e2fa621b5bfe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The researchers focused on vocal songs because it is the most ubiquitous instrument available to world music.