The Act of Storytelling as a Path to Empathy

New research explains what happens in the brain when we empathize with others. The findings are complex and have led to more questions that are worthy of study, but, as a writer, I'm interested in the ways in which stories and storytelling offer us opportunities to subvert stereotypes and demonstrate our shared humanity. Empathy is the very thing that makes a story compelling. Without it, our stories are sentimental, one-dimensional. When we read literature, specifically literary fiction, we feel empathy for the story's characters. The act of reading engages the imagination and allows a reader to inhabit the perspectives and interior lives of the characters. But how might the act of storytelling be employed as a tool of empathy?

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