Those who write scripts and create advertisements have turned to biochemistry to help tell their story. They know that when readers, watchers and listeners first begin to experience a story they feel a bit stressed and anxious by the unknowns the canny authors have deliberately strewn before them and cortisol, the stress hormone, is released because they do not know what is coming, and immediately they pay attention! Any novelist’s, screenwriter’s, or advertiser’s dream. Tell your children this and ask them to check if I am right.
That initial stress draws us all in, and then we begin to feel empathy for the problem the story outlines, and upon a resolution of the problem we feel relieved, and we release dopamine which rewards us. But wait! There’s more! When we feel relieved at the resolution, we release oxytocin, which makes us trust the storyteller. The more we like a story the more invested in it and its message we become.
Advertisers and scriptwriters everywhere know all this. Your children should too. Why should this knowledge be restricted to journalists or those who write books, scripts, or advertisements? It is just as important for teachers and parents and children – consumers – to know this also. They are being bombarded with much more targeted messaging nowadays.