Scientists believe that humans first developed the capacity for verbal language over 200,000 years ago. This development has widely set us apart from almost all other animal species (Gutman, 2019). As with all evolutionary advances, there must be an ultimate cause for this new ability.
The general consensus is that this new ability developed to allow early humans to tell stories. Through storytelling, early humans were able to pass down information from generation to generation. In this way, other tribe members could learn valuable lessons that would increase their survivability (Nigam, 2012).
In recent years, scientists have turned their attention to how brain activity occurs when telling or listening to a story. Using neuroimaging techniques, several experiments have examined activity patterns in both parties during the relay of a story. It was found that the brain activity in the story listener mirrored the brain activity of the storyteller, albeit with a slight time delay (Stephens et al., 2010; Suzuki et al., 2018).
At its very core, Bialik’s Breakdown is meant to be a place for storytelling. When we share narratives about our struggles with mental health, we are working to create a deeper understanding of the human experience. There is so much stigma and negativity surrounding mental illness. It becomes easy to forget and avoid those who are struggling. Our weekly discussions serve as a reminder that we all suffer from the mental rollercoaster that is the human experience. By supporting and caring for eachother, we can all work together toward a future where everyone is able to find happiness and fulfillment regardless of their neurology!