interesting scholarly study on storytelling and the origins of human cooperation

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    Some may be interested in this new scholarly work on storytelling:

    While the notion of the storytelling practices and cooperation is not new, this study does something i’ve never seen before in its attempt to examine things empirically. It does get kind of technical at points which can be off-putting for the non-expert or any of us who are rather time-constrained from decoding scholarly minutiae (which is probably most of us). But i think it’s worth adding this to our collective  intelligence about the role and power of storytelling in human societies. This work also makes a rather intriguing (and slightly amusing) claim that good storytelling (given processes of natural selection) lead to differential social benefit – i.e. good storytellers had more kids.
    Also, you’ll find at the end of the article a couple of links that might also be worth looking at. One is to supplementary material in which you’ll find (on pages 3-5) actual transcripts of stories collected in this research. And there’s also a link to the peer reviewers’ comments (something us lay-folk rarely see) and i found some of them illuminating in terms of a dialogue about the importance of storytelling.
    Finally, having perused the bibliographical references, i see many items on storytelling that look worth tracking down
    here’s the abstract

    Storytelling is a human universal. From gathering around the camp-fire telling tales of ancestors to watching the latest television box-set, humans are inveterate producers and consumers of stories. Despite its ubiquity, little attention has been given to understanding the function and evolution of storytelling. Here we explore the impact of storytelling on hunter-gatherer cooperative behaviour and the individual-level fitness benefits to being a skilled storyteller. Stories told by the Agta, a Filipino hunter-gatherer population, convey messages relevant to coordinating behaviour in a foraging ecology, such as cooperation, sex equality and egalitarianism. These themes are present in narratives from other foraging societies. We also show that the presence of good storytellers is associated with increased cooperation. In return, skilled storytellers are preferred social partners and have greater reproductive success, providing a pathway by which group-beneficial behaviours, such as storytelling, can evolve via individual-level selection. We conclude that one of the adaptive functions of storytelling among hunter gatherers may be to organise cooperation.

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    chris cavanagh ノ(ジ)ー’
    Catalyst Centre
    websites:      &

    instagram:             dagdainrags
    skype:                   assiepattle
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