STORY PROOF: The SCIENCE Behind the Startling Power of STORY
The first-ever scientific proof that “story structure” is an information delivery system powerhouse, evolutionarily hardwired into human brains. Using evidence gathered from 16 fields of science research (neural biology, developmental psychology, neural linguistics, clinical psychology, cognitive sciences, information theory, neural net modeling, education theory, knowledge management theory, anthropology, organization theory, narratology, medical science, narrative therapy, and, of course, storytelling and writing) STORY PROOF presents the overwhelming evidence that human minds naturally—automatically—perceive in specific story terms, understand and create meaning through specific story elements, and remember and recall in and through story structures. Libraries Unlimited, 2007. Adult. 164 Pages. $25.00
Like Stephen Krashen's important work in The Power of Reading, Story Proof collects and analyzes the research that validates the importance of story, story reading, and storytelling to the brain development and education of children and adults. Accomplished researcher and storyteller Kendall Haven, establishes the need for understanding the research findings in neural psychology and brain development and the value of a common definition of story if one is to fully grasp the importance and necessity of story to the development of the human mind. To support his case, he reviews a wealth of research from storytellers, teachers, and others who have experienced the power of story firsthand.
The author has collected anecdotal experiences from over 100 performing storytellers and from 1,800 story practitioners (mostly teachers) who have made extensive use of stories. He has read more than 150 qualitative and quantitative research studies that discuss the effectiveness of stories and/or storytelling for one or more specific applications (education, organizational management, knowledge management, medical and narrative therapy, etc.). Forty of these studies were literature reviews and comparative studies including analysis of over 1,000 studies and descriptive articles. He has also gathered research evidence from his own story performances for total audiences of over 4 million and from conducting story writing workshops with 200,000 students and 40,000 teachers.
We have been hearing recently about the trend away from narrative fiction as the choice of a new generation....Haven comes at us with the most articulate defense of story as an essential element in education....He looks at the tradition and examines the research behind story to make his major point that we cannot ignore this genre and that we do so at the peril of effective teaching and powerful teaching strategies....In the face of drill-and-kill reading programs, Haven reminds us that story can be and is as powerful as ever. Bottom line: This is a good read. A powerful reminder. Thanks, Kendall.