Empathy: Gratitude (Better Living through Signage, Part II)

In belated celebration of Thanksgiving, here’s an exhibit piece in which the speaker expresses gratitude and, I think, evokes it in the listener. If we accept the argument presented in an earlier post that there are only six fundamental emotions—anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise—I would classify gratitude as a type of happiness.

This piece, along with three other patients’ stories, accompanied a cluster of components about breast imaging. The hope was that the emotions evoked by the patients’ stories would help motivate visitors to learn the science content. “Emotion enhances our ability to form vivid memories of even trivial events.” [* Other studies report similar findings.]

Do you have a favorite resource about emotion and learning, teaching, and/or memory to recommend? “How Emotions Affect Learning” is a good, basic overview, but it’s almost twenty years old. If you can recommend a good review article, please comment below.

A side note: For any of you who might be wondering how much or what kind of writing is involved in a piece like this one, the answer is a lot, sort of. After I interviewed Carolyn and the interview was transcribed, I wrote a script using her own words, which I then gave to a very talented audio editor. After telling me that I had habit of asking for impossible edits, he proceeded to make all of the edits I asked for. (I won’t put his name or contact information here, because I don’t want him to get spammed, but I think he’s available for freelance work, so if you need someone really talented in the Boston area, let me know.)

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