Wish you were here

How good are you at listening to stories that aren't familiar?


Wish you were here

We may ask, ‘How was your holiday?’ – but, actually, we only enjoy hearing about other people’s experiences if they’re familiar to us.

A study found human speech is full of informational gaps, so familiar stories (like about that beach we both visited) allow listeners to use their own knowledge to fill in the missing bits.

The study discusses reasons why novel stories are more difficult to tell, and why familiar stories are more enjoyable to hear, than either speakers or listeners expect.

Are you really listening when friends or family tell you about their recent travels? 

Learn more about yourself in our ‘Self‘ section.

Photograph: iStock

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