The Psychology of Compelling Storytelling


Learn to apply concepts that make stories powerful and memorable in this course exploring what readers can’t resist.

Starting at $695.00
As few as 10 weeks

What you can learn.

  • Identify what makes storytelling so powerful for readers
  • Understand what processes guide attention and decision making
  • Apply concepts from psychology and communication studies to your writing
  • Learn to craft persuasive, meaningful story elements

About this course:

Novice storytellers tend to associate the quality of a story with the quality of its prose. While a clear and concise style will facilitate understanding, the commercial success of “poorly written” books demonstrates that good storytelling, the kind of storytelling that fascinates and persuades, calls for a different skill: the ability to create urgency. This is not an ordinary writing course. This course explains how it is that stories engage and persuade and provides a theoretical background of the mental processes that guide attention and decision making as well as of the limits of cognition so that students can apply that knowledge to the crafting of more engaging and more persuasive stories. For that purpose, this course takes a multidisciplinary approach to storytelling, borrowing concepts from media psychology, communication studies, social psychology, and even seemingly unrelated disciplines such as cognitive neuroscience and ethology, the study of animal behavior.

Summer 2022 Schedule

Date & Time
This section has no set meeting times.
See Details
Instructor: Carlos Allende
Onlineformat icon
Still accepting enrollments
See Details

Enrollment limited to 15 students. Internet access required.

This online course is conducted through Canvas, a secure website that allows students to log in to access lectures, discussions, and other course materials on demand. There are no required class meetings. Each course is structured with weekly assignments and deadlines. Lectures and coursework are accessible throughout the week. Workshops are conducted in writing via discussion boards with your instructor and classmates. 

Refund Deadline
No refunds after July 13, 2022
Course Requirements

Internet access required to retrieve course materials.

Book: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
Ready to start
your future?
By signing up, you agree to UCLA Extension’s Privacy Policy.

vector icon of building

Corporate Education

Learn how we can help your organization meet its professional development goals and corporate training needs.

Learn More

vector icon of building

Donate to UCLA Extension

Support our many efforts to reach communities in need.

Innovation Programs

Student Scholarships

Coding Boot Camp

Lifelong Learning