The New Science of Narrative Intelligence
by Angus Fletcher
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Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Sep 2023
Every time we think ahead, we are crafting a story. Every daily plan—and every political vision, social movement, scientific hypothesis, business proposal, and technological breakthrough—starts with “what if?” Linking causes to effects, considering hypotheticals and counterfactuals, asking how other people will react: these are the essence of narrative. So why do we keep overlooking story’s importance to intelligence in favor of logic?
This book explains how and why our brains think in stories. Angus Fletcher, an expert in neuroscientific approaches to narrative, identifies this capacity as “storythinking.” He demonstrates that storythinking is fundamental to what makes us human. Artificial intelligence can perform symbolic logic, rational deduction, and mathematical calculation, but it is incapable of deliberating in narrative. Drawing on new research in neuroscience and narrative theory, Fletcher explores the nature of imagination, innovation, and creativity. He provides concise answers to big questions: How does storythinking work? Why did it evolve? How can it misfire? What problems can it solve?
Revealing the significance of storythinking from science to business to philosophy, this book also provides ways for readers to harness its power to script better tomorrows.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angus Fletcher is professor of story science at Ohio State University’s Project Narrative. His most recent book is Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature (2021). His research has been published in journals such as Harvard Business Review and Annals of the New York Academy of Science.
"Fletcher’s done it again. His polymathic erudition and word-wizardry elegance pull off the equivalent of a Copernican revolution in our understanding of storytelling—in all its resplendent iterations. With Storythinking he invites us on an extraordinary odyssey that enriches understanding of our deep, instinctive impulse to create stories as makers and transformers of our world. Storythinking is nothing less than a cosmological paradigm shift that puts story making and thinking at the center of all that we do."
--Frederick Luis Aldama, award-winning author and Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, UT Austin