Does reading change your brain?
If ever you wanted an argument to justify why you spend many hours of your life reading, some recent research by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, might fit the bill.
Apparently the university’s Centre for Neuropolicy ran an experiment with undergraduate students to determine if levels of activity in the brain were affected by reading a page-turning novel. Over the course of nine days, the students were given assignments in which they read sections of Robert Harris’ novel Pompeii . Their brain patterns before and after reading were then compared.
What the experiment showed was that the reading activity affected the brain in two different ways — improving the parts of the brain associated with language receptivity and with sensation. The effects lasted for several hours after the students finished their assigned reading.
Neuroscientist Gregory Berns, the academic who lead the study, isn’t ready to declare that the experiment shows reading will result in long lasting changes in neural patterns but he does state: “your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain. ”
So next time you get accused of ‘wasting time’ on reading, maybe you can simply refer your critics to Mr Berns.
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