Michigan University researchers sought to understand the ‘stickiness’ of stories – does factual or emotionally charged information provided ‘after the fact’ change how a story is told or re-told?
Shawn and Mark discuss how a ‘better story’ might usurp an prevailing story (sometimes regardless of the truth).
Welcome back to a new Anecdotally Speaking episode.
For your story bank
Tags: Michigan University, Fire story, Danger, Survival, Misinformation, Sticky stories
This story starts at 02:38
A better story beats a story – better facts alone don’t count
Fire story experiment
Grp 1 and Grp 2 both told: Short circuit near storage room with flammable materials, gas bottle, oil paints caused fire
Grp 1 then told “Mistake, cancel that, please disregard, storage room wasn’t the fire cause”
Grp 2 then told “We also found petrol soaked rags in an oil drum” (suggesting arson, maybe?)
Both groups were asked about fire cause…
Grp 1 cited the cause they were instructed to disregard
Grp 2 cited the cause as the second (more contraversial) oil drum explanation
1. A story is better than no story
2. Facts are sometimes quickly disregarded
3. Suspicion of malicious intent versus accident might be ‘stickier’ on the story grapevine
Convincing and exciting over factually accountable – stories are sticky (especially danger and survival stories)
The better and the more compelling – it then becomes the anecdotal truth
‘Similar enough to be listened to, different enough to be heard’
An anti-story can be ‘easy pickings’ for a better one (admit the failure and emphasise new approach)
Better stories overturn misinformation (or reinforce it)
About Anecdote International
Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.