Emotive Storytelling: Emotion Speaks Louder than Words


Still trying to figure out how to make people do a 180 and respond to your messages? Is it the competitive price that drives them, or a promise of good health? Or is it something that goes deeper than discounts and even wellness? Although most readers and watchers don’t know it, empathy and concept conversion are activated by mirror neurons.


In a 2003 study, neuroscientists Laurie Carr, Marco Iacoboni and their team found that brain cells called mirror neurons triggered feelings of empathy when people watched or read material laced with emotion. And those emotions have the potential to increase imitation.

That’s the key to behavior change – for better or for worse. That’s what made the old Marlboro Man cigarette ads so effective. And that’s what helped people quit smoking – stories of Marlboro Men and others who died of lung cancer. Empathy and imitation were triggered by some very powerful brain cells.

And by the way, those brain cells weren’t firing in the pre-frontal cortex where lots of reasoning gets done. They were on the other side of the tracks – in the fight-flight-or freeze region.

Neuromarketing experts expand on the emotion-imitation concept. According to Patrick Renvoise, co-author of Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain, two important ways to motivate clients are with emotion and stories. They trigger the limbic system, so people act versus think. Again, the idea can be used for good or bad, to inspire positive behavior changes or negative ones.

That’s all part of Emotive Storytelling. People have been doing some version of it forever. Ancients used it to protect their loved ones from saber-tooth tiger attacks. Today, informed decision-makers can use it to protect their constituency, their clients, or their enrollees; they can use it to change hearts and minds and behavior. So, if you’re finding that your messaging isn’t getting the results you are looking for, consider learning more about the power of narrative in the process of persuasion. We’ll continue to post information here at Emotive Storytelling that will be of help.

Emotive Storytelling™ encourages behavior change through the use of narrative communication, neuroscience, digital media, games and mobility.  Narrative Communication as a source of emotive persuasion and education has a long history and a sound scientific underpinning.  Emotive Storytelling™ integrates the emotional power of the storytelling, cinematic technique, neuroscience, health games, mhealth (mobile health), digital tools and internet technology to drive user engagement, adherence and behavior change in healthcare delivery, marketing, education, and business.
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