From Grandma’s Folk Tales To Modern Podcasts, Why Do Audio Stories Captivate The Human Mind?


Over  100 million people listen to podcasts at least once a month in the US alone. That number grows 10 times when we talk about it globally. With over 750,000 podcast shows and 29 million episodes on the web, you can find a podcast on every topic you can think of.

Humans have always had a sweet spot for stories. Since the prehistoric era, mankind has carried forward stories in various ways. At every gathering, people shared stories, and it came down to the day our grandma told them to us.

Somewhere amidst the rise of technology, we lost our instinct to share stories with people and didn’t really sit down with our grandma to hear the folk tales she had for us. However, when one door closes, another opens up.

The new portal to stories is full of books, movies, and audio stories. Technology has brought stories to the tip of our fingers and has given us the convenience to either listen to one or tell the world one whenever we wish.

Audio stories in the form of podcasts and audiobooks have particularly garnered crazy attention in recent times, and let’s take a look at what makes audio stories captivate the human mind and why can’t we get enough of it?

The Science behind Stories

Before dwelling into why audio stories are so enchanting, let’s understand why a story in itself can bring a person’s mind at peace. This is a psychological phenomenon, and our body’s physical reaction towards it is the science behind why stories are so great.

Every time we listen to a good story, our brain releases a certain hormone known as Oxytocin. It brings about a rush of positivity in our body, and we begin to feel a sense of empathy and compassion not just towards the characters in the story but towards the people around us at the moment too.

When a listener can relate to a character in the story, they can form a connection with them, and it’s not easy to break connections that have been created with emotions and empathy. The sense of togetherness a story cultivates strengthens the root of the social mindset humans have.

Inculcates Vivid Imagination

How would you imagine your fantasy world if you were asked to? Would there be unicorns and fairies with candies flying around? Or would it be a technologically advanced robotic world? The answer could be anything, and it is almost to guess what you are imagining.

When we watch movies and TV shows, we are consuming stories. No matter how much you like the story, it is not your own. You are enjoying someone else’s perception of the story. It could be very well directed and have top-notch cinematography, but in the end, it will always be different from what you would have liked to imagine.

That’s one of the main reasons every Potter Head prefers to read the fantasy novels of Harry Potter rather than watching the adapted movies. When they first read the books, they had complete freedom of imagination, and the movies just turned out to be different from what they had imagined.

Audiobooks offer the freedom of imagination everyone is looking for. Although the story might be the same, the way one perceives could be different, and when someone is able to call that difference of perception as their own, they value it more.

Simple Language and Charismatic Hosts

Podcasts are hosted by artists who are passionate about what they are doing, and they talk about things with charisma. It’s not a literary fest, so an academic grade language does no good to anyone. With simple words and language, audio stories make sure that it is understandable to listeners in a wide range of age groups.

Moreover, each audio story has its own narrator, and a lot of people just fall in love with the voice of the host or the way they speak. Their art of storytelling is jubilant and is one of the main reasons, more and more people are switching to listening to audio stories.

Famous podcasts like the Tin Foil Hat podcast and the Ricochet podcast with their amazing content are creating a fan base that would hardly want to listen to anything else. Such organic love has contributed to the immense growth rate of the industry.

It was the softness of your grandmother’s voice that brought the feeling of comfort and made you fall in love with her stories. The modern podcasts are trying to imitate a similar comfort experience and are so far doing a good job at it.

Surprise Elements

Audio stories and podcasts do not necessarily have a confined format in which they should be played out. The story can be presented; however, the creator wants to, and that leaves a lot of space for surprises. Moreover, the twist and turns of the story also keep you on the hook at all times.

Every new episode brings a new topic or a new guest and keeps the curious mind of the listeners on the loop. Another surprise element is the background sounds. Some audio content does not need any background sounds, while others make the best use of sound psychology.

When you listen to a story set in a specific backdrop and also hear related sounds, you almost transport into the story. These sound effects bring an immersive experience that is addictive and leaves the listener wanting more.


Technology has a big role to play in this as well. Transit times have been made fun with audiobooks and podcasts. People can just plug in their headphones and forget the outside world for a while.

If there is anything apart from the stories and the content, it is the peace that one can experience for the duration their mind has traveled to a far off place away from the daily stress of life.

Pick out your favorite topic and your favorite host to take a trip into your mind palace. You’ll be surprised how audio stories can captivate your mind.