WHY WE HELP MORE WILLINGLY IN REACTION TO STORIES
People understand social reality as stories. Narrative is not only a linguistic matter; it is a powerful and early-acquired way an individual interprets social events, his/her own identity, and that of other people, as well as making decisions. The data confirm that interpretation of personal matters within a self-narrative framework related to a stronger motivation to fulfill personal goals and to life meaningfulness. The differences in sustained content of self-narratives result in style of adaptation, for example, in reactions to successes and failures. A narrative frame of understanding other persons also influences our social behavior. Presenting the story of an ill person, in comparison to a description of the illness, not only activates a narrative approach toward this person, but increases the probability of helping behavior in subjects - in this case, the promise of donations of bone marrow for leukemia patients or the willingness to spend time on soliciting money for medical treatment. A higher general ability in narrative interpretation strengthens the above effects. Results of other studies may suggest the kind of factors responsible for these effects.
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