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The Storytelling Brain

Commentary on “On Social Attribution: Implications of Recent Cognitive Neuroscience Research for Race, Law, and Politics”


The well-established techniques of the professional storyteller not only have the potential to model complex “truth” but also to dig deeply into that complexity, thereby perhaps getting closer to that truth. This applies not only to fiction, but also to medicine and even science. Compelling storytelling ability may have conferred an evolutionary survival advantage and, if so, is likely represented in the neural circuitry of the human brain. Functional imaging will likely point to a neuroanatomical basis for compelling storytelling ability; this will presumably reflect underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms.

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Correspondence to Sanjay K. Nigam.

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A slightly different version of this material was submitted for an unpublished compendium following the author’s participation in a Neuroethics Week Panel held in 2007 in San Diego.

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Nigam, S.K. The Storytelling Brain. Sci Eng Ethics 18, 567–571 (2012).

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  • Storytelling
  • Medicine
  • Art
  • Fiction
  • Science
  • Narrative
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience