The Journal of Scientific Storytelling
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Using Brain Research to Design Better eLearning Courses: 7 Tips for Success

Using Brain Research to Design Better eLearning Courses: 7 Tips for Success | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
Jey principles from neuroscience research paired with tips that will allow course creators to achieve effective eLearning development.
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Storytelling in dementia: Embodiment as a resource.

In narrative research about persons with dementia, much research focuses on individual storytellers and their stories often stressing the discursive or textual aspects of stories. As persons with Alzheimer's disease generally have difficulties in telling stories according to often implicit narrative norms, they may appear to be less competent and agentive than what is actually the case. In the article, I argue for a change of focus from the textual aspects of narratives and the story as a product, to a focus on performative aspects and the embodied aspects of storytelling. A focus on the storytelling activity implies a change from the individual storyteller to the interaction with other participants in the storytelling situation. Drawing on two particular cases of storytelling, I stress the collaborative and embodied aspects of storytelling and argue that embodiment is less an individual expressive phenomenon than it is an interactive resource.

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Falling Off the Bandwagon Exploring the Challenges to Sustained Digital Engagement by Older People

Contrary to some stereotypes, many older people are enthusiastic, competent and confident users of information and communication technologies. However, they report a range of challenges in reaching and maintaining this situation. These include technological complexity and change, age-related capability changes and a lack of learning and support mechanisms. Intrinsic motivation and social support are important in enabling older people to overcome these challenges.  

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Big Data Needs Thick Data

Big Data Needs Thick Data | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it

Big Data can have enormous appeal. Who wants to be thought of as a small thinker when there is an opportunity to go BIG?

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Thick Data: ethnographic approaches that uncover the meaning behind Big Data visualization and analysis.

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A Sensor In Every Chicken: Cisco Bets on the Internet of Things

A Sensor In Every Chicken: Cisco Bets on the Internet of Things | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
A few months ago we wrote about how big-name companies are starting to talk about the Internet of Things - a term for the network formed by real-world objects connected to the Internet - indicating that the idea is picking up speed.
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A brilliant quantification of the over-stimulated digital world that we are living in from Chief Futurist at Cisco in 2010 "humans generated more data in 2009 than in the previous 5000 years combined". 

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Medical residents' use of narrative templates in storytelling and diagnosis

"This paper examines the diagnostic storytelling that medical residents perform in order to situate patients in a story trajectory with an imputed past and future"

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Nancy Davenport from Columbia University provides a great example of how the medical process is a story itself: whether the litany of complaints fit a pattern requires the formation of a cogent narrative of a specific disease (diagnosis). This is then related to experience with past patients whose stories were similar (prognosis), and how the story's ending might be changed with a timely intervention (treatment). 

 

 

 

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Telling Stories - Understanding Real Life Genetics

Telling Stories - Understanding Real Life Genetics | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
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The explosion of genetic information promised after decoding the human genome is finally being realised with increased understanding of health and disease, new therapies and changes in healthcare practice. 

One approach to enhance nurse understanding of genetics is to simulate clinical exposure through storytelling. Telling Stories, Understanding Real Life Genetics is a freely accessible website that sets people's stories within an education framework. 

The Teling Stories project acknowledges storytelling as a powerful learning tool, being understandable and memorable, stimulating critical thinking, and linking theory to practice.

 

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Telling stories of vaccine-preventable diseases: why it works

“Given the many benefits of storytelling, providers should strive to include stories along with medical facts in their daily practice.”

 

 

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This fantastic paper assesses why storytelling effectively improves health knowledge and behaviours. Compared to scientific information, stories relate life lessons and values - they are effective because they are memorable and relatable. 

 

The paper also discusses the correlation between narrative and vaccination opinion, demonstrating how our brains are naturally poor at evaluating quantitative information (the anti-vaccination lobby is continuing to spread fear via anecdotes in the face of clear-cut, evidence-based statistics supporting vaccine safety). 

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Story and science: How providers and parents can utilize storytelling to combat anti-vaccine misinformation

"With little or no evidence-based information to back up claims of vaccine danger, anti-vaccine activists have relied on the power of storytelling to infect an entire generation of parents with fear of and doubt about vaccines ...  Utilizing some of the storytelling strategies used by the anti-vaccine movement, in addition to evidence-based vaccine information, could potentially offer providers, public health officials, and pro-vaccine parents an opportunity to mount a much stronger defense against anti-vaccine messaging."

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Storytelling has been used to dramatic effect by the anti-vaccination lobby to spread claims from Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent research study linking the MMR vaccine to autism. The scientific community has responded with the tools that scientists accept and and understand. But when the general public responds so strongly to emotionally charged stories, are statistics and evidence-based research the most effective approach? Should we be fighting stories with stories?

 

Another recent publication on this topic, from Cunningham et al:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23444587

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Bridging storytelling traditions with digital technology

"The purpose of this project was to learn how Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Alaska perceived digital storytelling as a component of the "Path to Understanding Cancer" curriculum and as a culturally respectful tool for sharing cancer-related health messages."

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Applying storytelling in a digital environment allowed Community Health Workers increase their cancer knowledge, facilitate patient and community cancer conversations, and promote cancer awareness and wellness.

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Erin Barker & Ben Lillie Great Challenges day at TEDMED 2013

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"The statistics aren't enough, you need to have the personal connection". 

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Syntactic structure building in the anterior temporal lobe during natural story listening

Syntactic structure building in the anterior temporal lobe during natural story listening | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it

The neural basis of syntax is a matter of substantial debate. In particular, the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), or Broca's area, has been prominently linked to syntactic processing. Subjects passively listened to Alice in Wonderland during functional magnetic resonance imaging and we correlated brain activity with a word-by-word measure of the amount syntactic structure analyzed. Our results suggest that the anterior temporal lobe computes syntactic structure under natural conditions.

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Expanding beyond single words and metaphors, this study indicates that a naturalistic, story-listening method may provide a valuable tool for exploring language processing using fMRI. 

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The Invisible Gorilla Strikes Again

The Invisible Gorilla Strikes Again | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
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Notice anything odd about this CT scan? 83% of radiologists failed to notice the gorilla. When the brain is focused on a specific goal (like searchin for a tumour), information gets fltered out (see Chabris and Simons' classic invisible gorilla experiment if you doubt just what we miss).

 

When developing a narrative we have to keep the audience focused on what is important. In the words of W. Somerset Maugham "Stick to the point". Our creative writers ask themselves "So what?" dozens of times each day like obstinate teenagers with a personality disorder. While this works wonderfully for narratives that retain audience attention, I can't help but wish they'd tidy their rooms more often.  

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NEJM — NEJM Quick Take

NEJM — NEJM Quick Take | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it

Each NEJM Quick Take is a brief animation narrated by Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of theJournal, summarizing the key findings of an original research article and their broader implications in a lively visual format. 

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These fantastic short animations explain complex science in a simple and engaging manner. We particularly like the 'Risk of Cancer in a CT-discovered nodule", which covers a study that we reported in issue 4 of neo. 

 

http://neooncology.co.uk/mag/issue-four.html

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Training Patient and Family Storytellers and Patient and Family Faculty

Narrative medicine has become a prominent method of developing more empathetic relationships between medical clinicians and patients, on the basis of a deeper understanding of the patient experience. Beyond its usefulness during clinical encounters, patient storytelling can inform processes and procedures in Advisory Councils, Committee Meetings, and Family as Faculty settings, leading to improved quality and safety in health care. Armed with a better understanding of the patient experience, clinicians and administrators can make decisions, hopefully in collaboration with patients, that will enrich the patient experience and increase satisfaction among patients, families, and staff. Patient and family storytelling is a key component of the collaboration that is ideal when an organization seeks to deliver patient- and family-centered care.Providing patients and families with training will make the narratives they share more powerful. Health care organizations will find that purposeful storytelling can be an invaluable aspect of a patient- and family-centered culture. Well-delivered storytelling will support quality- and safety-improvement efforts and contribute to improved patient satisfaction. This article provides instruction for teaching patients and families how to tell stories with purpose and offers advice about how to support patients, families, and clinicians participating in this effort.

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Update of Strategies to Translate Evidence from ... [J Rheumatol. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

"For rheumatology research to have a real influence on health and well-being, evidence must be tailored to inform the decisions of various audiences"

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The Cochrane Collaboration provide a gold standard in our world of evidence-based medicine. But their communications go much further than their reviews and Forest Plots. This article describes the Collaboration’s use of storytelling and narratives as tools to support continuing medical education. 

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Reply to: "Against storytelling of scientific results" : Nature Methods : Nature Publishing Group

The 'storytelling in science' Nature Methods discussion continues with a response from Martin Krzywinski and Alberto Cairo to Yarden Katz. 

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This insightful discussion goes beyond the advantages and limitations of storytelling in science, but several of the key topics seem too broad for the generalisations made by each side. The depth of data provided, how this should be displayed (as graphics or text) and the breadth of the narrative should be constantly evaluated during the development of scientific communications. There is no single rule to guide us; the questions raised by each side of this discussion should be at the forefront of all our minds when considering how to communicate our data. 

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Narrative visualization: telling stories with data

"Our framework suggests design strategies for narrative visualization, including promising under-explored approaches to journalistic storytelling and educational media"

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A neat paper from Segel and Heer at Stanford who discuss how narative visualization can function in place of a written story.

 

The authors characterise interactivity and messaging, in terms of the balance between the narrative flow intended by the author (imposed by graphical elements and the interface) and story discovery on the part of the reader (often through interactive exploration).

 

Looking forward to exploring some of these with Ebee!

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Storytelling as a model of conversation for people with dementia and caregivers

"Storytelling is an important method of communication at all stages of life. Sharing narratives about lived events and experiences provides topics of conversation and opportunities for connecting with other people. In this article, we apply a conventional model of storytelling to the verbal reminiscences of older people with a dementia diagnosis."

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"Stories are not just for kids" - this paper suggests storytelling as a conversation model for people with dementia.

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Storytelling in the digital world: achieving higher-level learning objectives

"Nursing students are not passive media consumers but instead live in a technology ecosystem where digital is the language they speak. To prepare the next generation of nurses, educators must incorporate multiple technologies to improve higher-order learning. "

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Melissa Schwartz from East Carolina University's College of Nursing discusses the evolution and use of storytelling as part of the digital world and how digital stories can be aligned with Bloom's Taxonomy so that students achieve higher-level learning objectives.

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Stories We Tell One Another: Narrative Reflection and the Art of Oncology | 2013 Educational Book | Meeting Library

Stories We Tell One Another: Narrative Reflection and the Art of Oncology | 2013 Educational Book | Meeting Library | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
Stories We Tell One Another: Narrative Reflection and the Art of Oncology
- Patient and Survivor Care - 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting
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David Steensma discusses the persistent importance of narrative in modern oncology. 

Some might argue that we no longer need patient and physician narratives to inform care; instead, accurate molecular subtyping of tumors, effective pharmaceuticals, and rigorous clinical trial results are enough. Yet stories and reflections about being a doctor or being a patient remain important and instructive even in this era of molecular cancer medicine, even in the face of our increasing reliance on high-tech diagnostics and narrowly targeted smart therapeutics. Amid the pressures of rapidly changing practice patterns and the daily emotional challenges of working with seriously ill and dying patients, the acts of reflection and storytelling can also help keep us sane.

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Inspired Storytelling: Engaging People & Moving Them To Action

Most projects, presentations or initiatives are driven by facts and features the team believes will help them deliver a product or message. While facts and data
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This slideshare is aimed at an advertising/marketing audience, but many of the principles can be applied to scientific communications. "Facts are only the first part of the equation" is a key principle that we work by. Quite simply, data and ideas are better remembered when they are delivered as part of story – the narrative provides a context that engages the audience by making the content personal to them. 

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Speaker–listener neural coupling underlies successful communication

Speaker–listener neural coupling underlies successful communication | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
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A seminal study using fMRI to demonstrate synchonisaiton of speaker’s and listener’s brains during storytelling. The listener's brain activity mirrors that of the storyteller in temporally-coupled response patterns. In a neat control, this “brain-to-brain” coupling substantially diminished when the speaker told the story in a language the listener did not know. Fascinating work from the Hasson lab at Princeton. 

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The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction

Stories stimulate the brain. Metaphors like “He had leathery hands” rouse the sensory cortex.
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This 2012 New York Tims article covers some of the studies that are beginning to describe how the vivid simulations evoked by fictional stories may be explained by neuroscience.

 

These fMRI studies have shown how words and metaphors can activate particular regions of the brain. These studies tend to steer clear from studying discourse-level or multi-sentence-level versions of texts, which contain all sorts of different variables that are difficult to control for. 

 

One exception, however, has demonstrated a substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to map of other people’s intentions - to identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.

 

Add the control difficulties in studies of this kind to the limitations of fMRI interpretation (rarely acknowldged in articles lke this) and it is clear that the neuroscience of storytelling comprehension is still in its very early days.

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Inspector Insight » Neuroscience and Storytelling

Inspector Insight » Neuroscience and Storytelling | The Journal of Scientific Storytelling | Scoop.it
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This collection of principles for effective story writing lifted from a Lisa Cron's Wired for Story makes interesting brain-fodder for anyone developing narratives. Like the book, it nicely articulates several focii of creative writing but both fall way short of the claim of using neuroscience to explain why these are effective.

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