December 22, 2016

Why Good Stories Get Your Attention

I came across the following video clip last week. It tricked me… will it trick you?

It’s impossible to see the face on the right as hollow, even though you know it’s hollow.

Your brain seems to spot the key facial features, and ‘colour in’ the missing information. This is why you’ll recognise somebody’s face long before you remember their name.

Big cats and ‘monsters’ are apparently another thing our brains are good at dreaming up. Every year in Britain, roughly 2000 sightings of big cats are reported to the police. People mostly report pumas or panthers, or simply describe a ‘beast’.

Despite the ‘sightings’, we can categorically say there are no big cats left in Britain in the 21st Century. Cats like pumas and panthers are actually easy to find. Big cats leave inconspicuous evidence of their presence, including territories, dens, spraying points and scratching posts. None of that evidence can be seen anywhere in Britain today.

So why is it then that so many people report seeing these big cats?

The threat of attack from predators like big cats only receded from human life about 20,000 years ago. In evolutionary terms, you still have a ‘big cat programme’ running in your brain. If your brain sees something that looks anything like a big cat, it quickly fills in the missing details and tells you to run.

We have all these ‘programmes’ running in our head, which perhaps at one time kept us alive. And tapping into these programmes is what makes a great story so compelling.

I talk more about this on page 57 of Evergreen Nurture Emails. If you still need to pick up a copy, perhaps you should treat yourself for Christmas.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.