Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Many people know these days about the “Hero’s Journey” monomyth. It’s laid out in screenplay books, advertising bibles, and is very evident in many fairy tales and novels and movies.
A very simple description of the monomyth You have a call to adventure and various stages along the way, challenges, rising action, victories etc, until a final conflict and then resolution.
So far so good, but here is where it gets interesting.
The neurochemistry that leads plot or narrative to be hardwired into our subconscious is being explored in popular science since the discovery that oxytocin “The Cuddle Hormone” can be coaxed out of the brain by stories. Since the mid-2000s.
Unfortunately for this story, this discovery, (news to me, a cook who happens to be fascinated by the power of kindness and generosity) led me down a rabbit hole to read up the research on the causal impact of oxytocin on narrative immersion.
I’m back now, in the real world, with a much better understanding of why some food videos seem to work.
A good narrative will cause the release of cortisol and oxytocin. Cortisol is a stress hormone and Oxycotin is an empathy hormone. Cortisol will make you anxious and focussed, oxytocin will make you feel generous and caring.
Very nice, very understandable. Here’s the thing though. Going from heightened cortisol state INTO a heightened oxytocin state makes it likely that not only will you feel a certain way, but that you will ACT on the feeling.
Voting, donating, rallying to a cause, clicking on a video