June 22, 2017

Xoxo, Gossip Girl. Credit: Brian Smithson / Flickr Creative Commons

With new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, it can seem like humans are making leaps and bounds in worlds of communication and storytelling. But at heart, storytelling fundamentals haven’t changed all that much since early man started sharing myths around a fire. This week on Innovation Hub, we explore the intersection between our storytelling instincts, and the new technology that helps us tell them.

First, it turns out being an expert can’t stop you from making rookie mistakes. University of Pennsylvania Professor Adam Grant says experts are more likely to avoid taking risks, which can lead them to overlook out-of-the-box ideas. But playing it safe does have its consequences: if NBC had trusted rating experts, Grant says, “Seinfeld” never would have existed.

Next, can’t stop paying attention to Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian? Don’t blame yourself, it’s biology. Frank McAndrew, a professor of psychology at Knox College, studies the evolutionary origins of gossip, and says that it can be beneficial, because it helps to form bonds and develop trust between people. Gossip might even be crucial to maintaining society.

Finally, it’s becoming possible for people to step into their favorite stories. From Disney World, to Pokemon Go, you can almost merge your favorite characters’ world with your own. Kellian Adams-Pletcher, an educational game designer and founder of  Green Door Labs, talks about how technology changes the way we interact with stories, and by association, the way we view reality.

Seinfeld, Kellian Adams-Pletcher, Frank McAndrew, Gossip, innovation hub, Adam Grant, pri, WGBH, Sci and Tech, Kara Miller, virtual reality

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