The Neurobiology of Narratives

Fascinating stuff (via):

Vivisecting Verses – DARPA Investigates the Neurobiology of Narratives

DARPA’s current interest in narratives is an interesting development at an agency known for unique scientific inquiries. On April 25 and 26th DARPA held a conference called Narrative Networks (N2): The Neurobiology of Narratives. The purpose of this conference was to follow up a Feburary 26th event which sought to outline a quantitative methodology for measuring the effect of storytelling on human action.

We owe much of the early development of the internet to DARPA, along with remote viewing, remote controlled moths, invisibility cloaks and other wonders of the contemporary age.

More: Are Myths And Stories A National Security Issue?

Here is a description of the workshop:

“The impact of narratives on human psychology ranges widely from what events we remember most easily to our choices about important foundational behaviors to include our degree of trust in others. Since the brain is the proximate cause of our actions, narratives have a direct impact on the neurobiological processes of both the senders and receivers of them. Understanding how narratives inform neurobiological processes is critical if we are to ascertain what effect narratives have on the psychology and neurobiology of human choices and behaviors, and can assist in everything ranging from exploring how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is influenced by event repetition to better understanding the thoughts and feelings of others.

To stimulate discussion and research on these issues, the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hosting a workshop, Narrative Networks (N2): The Neurobiology of Narratives. The workshop is intended as a sequel to one held February 28, 2011, which explored the nature of narratives, their role in security contexts, and methods for analyzing them quantitatively. This workshop will establish fertile ground for connecting our understanding of the neurobiology of narratives with models, simulations and sensors salient to security concerns. Accordingly, it focuses on surveying the neurobiological processes related to narratives, bridging the cognitive neurosciences and the story stimulus.

This workshop has five mutually reinforcing and overlapping goals:

To assay narrative effects on our basic neurochemistry

To understand narrative impact on the neurobiology of memory, learning and identity

To assess narrative influence on the neurobiology of emotions

To examine how narratives influence moral neurobiology

To survey how narratives modulate other brain mechanisms related to social cognition”

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