Storytelling is an art form, but there appears to be some science involved as well. In an episode for NPR’s Morning Edition news radio program, social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam reports on what Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert found when researching whether people preferred hearing stories about shared experiences or novel experiences. What Gilbert and his colleagues discovered was that people much preferred stories about familiar experiences, so much so that at your next dinner party, he recommends spending “less time talking about experiences that only you've had and more time talking about experiences that your listeners have also had.” Inspired by this behavioral research, write a story set during a dinner party in which conflicts arise from the stories shared by guests. Will an easily bothered guest become embittered by the swell of unamusing stories?
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