I recently sat through what should have been a very interesting presentation. The proposition fascinating, the data extensive, the qualifications of the presenter exemplarity. It is a pity, but a few minutes after it was over, none of the data was remembered.
All I can now recall is the scene setter the presenter used, the story he told which in his mind was just a warm up to the real stuff, the data that made the argument.
To me, the scene setter was the whole story, the data just a way to fill in a boring 25 minutes, and almost completely dispensable.
The lesson in this is that the social interaction we experience, or that are shared with us, are powerful conveyors of a message we recall, understand, and possibly act upon.
All the data in the world cannot do more than support the case, fill in the detail, and create quantitative foundations out of qualitative hypotheses. but it will always be the stories that stick in our memories.