Early Edutainment: The Behavioral Scientist’s Guide to Fairy Tales

Once Upon A Time there was a series of articles on why behavioral scientists should be interested in literature. We introduced the fundamentals before giving our fresh take on nineteenth century classics. In this piece we turn to European fairy stories for lessons on how narrative and mass media can shape real-world behavior. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all? — “Little Snow-White,” Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm (1812). A primary function of fiction is to reflect society, mirroring and critiquing its values in the guise of entertainment. In turn, the stories we tell shape the values we hold, the behaviors we enact, and the way we understand our world and purpose. ….[READ]