New study shows reading a novel changes brain chemistry

New research from Emory university on how reading boosts brain function, reported in The Independent:

Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading, scientists have said.


The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.


The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain.


Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition – for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.


“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study.


Here is more evidence of how fantasy influences reality. What do you think happens to brains over thousands of years, after reading narratives where males are heroes and females are in supporting roles?

I wonder if this study’s information applies to watching movies as well.

Read the whole post here.

Via blue milk’s Twitter feed.



One thought on “New study shows reading a novel changes brain chemistry

  1. Interesting.Well watching a movie is not the same as reading a book.I mean when reading you have to use your imagination to “create” an image. What is cool in reading is that the “image” I create will be unique to me-and different than anyone else’s. Whilst by watching a movie the image is already there and the same for all viewers.

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