Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
For the past 25 years, The Oprah Show has been telling people stories in hopes of connecting us all—sometimes people have laughed, and other times people have broken into what Oprah calls "the ugly cry." Now, Tom tells us that there is real science behind all of our responses.
That science is rooted in something called the vagus nerve, a bundle of nerves that triggers strong emotions within our bodies. "If we show people images in the lab that are classic sources of wanting to connect, the vagus nerve fires," explains professor Dacher Keltner in I Am. "It's when your chest kind of expands and you tear up. And you get this big rush."
"I understood that when they did the testing of the vagus nerve that they used a lot of Oprah Show clips for that," Oprah says to Tom.
"Well, the truth is that you have been the greatest igniter of the vagus nerve in the past 25 years!" Tom says. "By showing other human beings' stories that we all respond to, [Oprah] is helping evolution."