New Study Shows Reading Increases Brain Function for Days


reading increases brain functionI know I’ve been on a reading kick lately but it is a passion of mine and really beneficial to your health. Reading does for your mind what exercise does for your body. A new study out of Emory University shows that reading increases brain function.

According to scientists, reading a gripping novel can make heightened connectivity and neurological changes in the brain that can last several days after reading the book. It’s similar to muscle memory.

A study was conducted where 21 students read the same book–Pompeii by Robert Harris. The book was chosen for its strong narrative line and thrilling plot. Each day the students read a section of the book and received an MRI. They were also scanned for five days after finishing the book. The scans showed changes in brain activity during the reading of the novel and for all five days afterward. This is called shadow activity and acts a lot like muscle memory.

The biggest changes were found in the left temporal cortex where neurons are known for grounded cognition (basically tricking the brain to think it’s doing something it’s not really doing). It’s almost as if the reader is literally putting themselves in the protagonist’s shoes, even though their just reading the story.

This study shows that reading does not only have an immediate impact but also a long-lasting influence. Just one more reason to crack open that book.

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