a) characters with emotions you could relate to
b) a gap between what the characters wanted and what they had
c) novelty and surprise along the way that kept you emotionally invested
The link between neuroscience and content: “When oxytocin gets released, we care about those around us in the same way we care about our families. This brain mechanism has been an evolutionary advantage for humans. It helped us survive, work together, and build civilization.”
“Any positive social experience will do it,” he said. Hugs, acts of kindness, etc. One of the most surefire ways to generate empathy is via emotional narrative.
So how do we create narratives that work from this neuroscience perspective?
The key is not to blindly chase attention, as some commercials attempt to do in any way possible. “You want a real story arc, real conflict, real emotion,” Zak said, echoing what storytellers since Aristotle have taught. “The tension has to grow.”