Paul was interviewed for the article, “Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or a Stronger Start-Up.”

Paul Zak, a professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, studies oxytocin, which is produced in the brain. Researchers have found it to be plentiful in lactating women and released during orgasm. It is also thought to bolster trust and empathy.

To see the impact of storytelling on oxytocin, Professor Zak conducted a now well-known experiment. Participants had their blood drawn before and again after watching videos of character-driven stories. The result? When those watching the stories had an increase in oxytocin, they tended to help more — donating money to a charity associated with the story, for example.

But not every story is well told. Most of us know a compelling tale when we hear one, but “it’s difficult for people to articulate why they like what they like,” Professor Zak said. []

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