The Hungry Monkey: The Science, Psychology, and Philosophy Behind Emotional Storytelling

July 1, 2020

A hungry monkey walks into a bar and asks for a banana…

A glowing mother wraps her arms around her newborn child…

An elderly man rests his eyes as he takes his final breaths…

Smile. Laugh. Cry. Whether it brings a smirk upon your face or a tear to your eye— each story accomplishes its purpose. Words can make you feel joy or discomfort, love or hate, approval, or rejection— but as long as they have made you feel, greatness has been achieved. While different tales are right for different brands at different times, emotions are the pathway to decisions, the door to memories, and the key to actions.

  1. The Psychology

Firmly establish a place in someone’s heart, and you’ll secure space in their mind, as well. Emotions are a proven route to mental availability. Psychological studies show that people’s most enduring memories are emotional experiences, and the most memorable brands are the ones that emotionally resonate with their audiences. You’re significantly more likely to pay attention, retain information, and act upon that information when it’s relayed in the form of an emotional story.

  1. The Science

The first thing I learned at Advantages is that the emotional part of your brain is also the decision-making part of your mind. As much as we’d like to believe we’re rational creatures, neuroscience research shows that emotions dictate a whopping 95% of the decisions people make. So, if you have something to say, share an emotional story and make your message its meaning, for there is no higher form of communication.

  1. The Philosophy

Happiness is the ultimate motivator. The pursuit of this state of being is at the core of every goal, task, or mission. To an extent, it’s the endgame for everyone. Stories are opportunities to give people a taste of the very thing their heart most desires. If you tell it right, once they’ve had that taste, they’ll come back for more.

The impact of such narratives has never been more apparent than in today’s media-driven world. From television to social media to advertising, emotional stories live on in people’s minds, shape their decisions, and bring about social and purchasing actions alike. The hungry monkey makes people laugh. The glowing mother makes them smile. The sickly man makes them cry. Yet each succeeds in their larger goal. Whether you aim to share a product, sell a service, declare a message, or grow a movement— emotion is a vital resource to connect with people, inspire them to listen, and move them to act.

About the author: With an unwavering passion for creative work and an exceptional mind for big ideas, Zach turns simple words into expansive stories that resonate in people’s hearts. In addition to Zach’s role at Advantages, he also leads a large community youth organization and is an MBA student.

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