Did you have a favorite story in childhood? One that you begged to hear read to you or told over and over again? Mine was “The Pokey Little Puppy,” and I’m sure I had it memorizing at some point in time. Some have wondered if there might possibly be some brain phenomenon going on. Researchers Horst and colleagues decided to delve into this commonality and see if they could identify any brain function phenomenon. First, they found that children tended to learn more words from hearing the same stories over and over. They compared this to adults who like to watch a favorite movie more than once. The first time through you may find it a bit difficult to follow the story line. On subsequent viewings, you anticipate what is coming next and no longer need to pay such close attention to the story itself. This allows you to think about different parts of the movie in different ways—and you can get an overall flavor.
Horst, J. S., Parsons, K. L., and Bryan, N. M. 2011. Get the story straight: contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooks. Front. Psychol. 2:17. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00017