What happens in our brains when we listen to fairy tales?

What happens in our brains when we listen to fairy tales?



“Once upon a time there was a baby bird who could not fly yet. One winter evening, he fell from his home and found himself on the ground. Started «Exit! Exit! Exit!” he squeals. He was chirping with all his might because he was about to freeze. Luckily, a passing cow saw him and wanted to warm him. It lifts its tail and… it has left a huge, smoking ring on it. Taking its head out of the hot poo, the little bird continued to sing with dignity this time: «CIK! EXIT! EXIT!” Hearing his voice, the old prairie wolf came galloping. He stretched out his paw and carefully pulled him out of the hot poo. He cleaned it gently. And he got a bite called raw!

My grandfather used to say that this tale teaches a lesson, but everyone should find this lesson for himself.

Those who get into trouble don’t always do this for your wickedness. And those who save you from trouble are not always those who want your well-being. But beyond that, there’s something you need to know: When you’re in trouble, shut up! ” [1]

It is fleeting. Tells impossible events, but makes people believe. It entertains even when it’s not funny. It is not real, but it sounds like it could be true. There are the weak, the strong, the good, the bad, and always lessons to be learned. The tale is strange. It does not take it and take it to another world, it opens up a world in front of you, it immediately takes you in. You look at what they show you and you never forget what you see. You want others to see it too. It is the magic of the fairy tale. It appears to the reader and the listener, and makes him explain himself.

Not only children, but also adults love fairy tales. Short, simple sentences are easy to understand. Characters with extraordinary abilities and miraculous events surprise and entertain. If not always, the bad ones lose, the good ones win, and the happy ending will take a deep breath and the necessary lesson.

So is that all? Scientists who examine the changes in the brains of those who listen to fairy tales provide a little more detailed explanation. Although he can easily perceive the tale with his simple language, the parts of the brain that undertake different functions are working overtime while listening to stories.

Magical situations, supernatural events that create a sense of astonishment increase the activity of the amygdala. The left amygdala, which plays an important role in the processing of attention and emotional processes in the brain, comes alive during fairy tale reading or listening. The work of the lower frontal gyrus region of the brain is explained by the cognitive process required to eliminate the incompatibility in the narrative. The increased concentration during this process stimulates the lower parietal lobe, the left fusiform gyrus, in the attention centers. [2]

Between the dream and reality of the tale, the brain animates what is told. At that moment, a genie comes out of Aladdin’s Magic Lamp. Pinocchio’s nose is also elongated from wood. “Camels become crier, fleas become barbers”. While the narrator “shakes his mother’s cradle with a rattle”, the same brain tries to make sense of what he portrays.

How is it that the brain does not get tired during this time? Why, for example, is the fox making the baby bird raw, the dragons breathing fire, and not stressing his father Pinocchio’s nose? Is it because the narrator intervenes every once in a while saying “This is the tale”?

Not. The human brain asks itself two questions when it comes to danger. ” When?” and where?” If the answer of the first is “Now” and the answer of the second is “Here”, he perceives a threat for himself and seeks a way to escape or protect himself. Yet fairy tales take place “Once upon a time in a country”. So both the narrator and the listener are safe.

This is the confidence of knowing that you are not under threat, actually highlights three important points about creativity.

1. Our brain likes to create. Another proof of this is that each time the tales are told by word of mouth, they change depending on the imagination of the narrator.

2. When we are not under stress, the limits of our imagination are widening, and we enjoy dreaming instead of cutting it out as “absurd”.

3. We are all creative as a natural result of these two.

Undoubtedly, the rich imaginations and talents of those ancient narrators and contemporary story writers, whose names are unknown to anyone, who made fairy tales so delicious. However, our interest in fairy tales is also closely related to the happiness of our brains. That’s why not only children, but also adults need fairy tales.

[1]A tale told in a scene from the movie My Name is Nobody, starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxMe4SJdxP8&t=3s&ab_channel=CMOVIES

[2]Cerveau & Psycho / https://bit.ly/32j1M5Y

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118179

https://www.cairn.info/voyager-dans-l-invisible–9782359251586-page-23.htm


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