Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel’

Cover of "Life of Pi"

Cover of Life of Pi

Four days left.  So this study has shown that that book you got for Christmas will provide you with the mental gymnastics that boost the brain.  Looking back on 2013 it’s interesting that there have been many headlines similar to this – i.e. claims for some incredible improvement to the human body based on a statistically insignificant study, in this case 21 students.  Make of it what you will!

 

Read, Read, Read

Reading a novel a day
enhances the cerebral cortex they say.

Absorbing One Hundred Years of Solitude
stimulates cerebral magnitude,
whilst Quiet Flows the Don
turns the brain on
and the Life of Pi
improves your Chi (or is it Psi?).
Cloud Atlas, Lord Jim, Catch 22
will speed up your synapses too.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-……
sharpens your senses, improving the might
of perceptive powers that comes from reading all hours.

Reading a book is like training with weights,
boosting the brain,
improving the state of your mind
and you find that turning the page of every edition
engages the brain in “grounded cognition”,
honing and toning the mind’s condition,
reaching a peak of erudition.
So read, read, read
to retain and improve the brain that you need.

 

 

 

 

27th December 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel’.”  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.

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3 thoughts on “Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel’

    • Thanks Eric. Brains good! Despite my somewhat sceptical remark about the statistical sample of the survey, intuitively it would seem common-sense that reading is providing a form of mental exercise and therefore has to be good for the brain. Coincidentally I came across the concept of “grounded cognition” a few years ago in relation to ‘jogging’. It was being promoted as a means of improving your performance. What you do is, before going on your run, imagine the run in your head so in quick-time you simulate yourself actually doing the run. Then when you come to do the run itself you find that your time has improved! We have a lot to learn about the role the brain plays in managing our bodies.

  1. Most knowledge of cognition is beyond my studies. As for grounded cognition, I know virtually nothing what-so-ever. I did scan the articles available and Lawrence W. Barsalou provided a couple of PDF reports that I’ll attempt to read. Its probably something that will come up. Thanks for the comment back.
    Cognitive disorders/diseases are tragic. My father had vascular disorder. It was awful how his cognitive ability deteriorated because of it in the last couple of his years and it eventually brought on his early death at 85. My mom has a neurodegenerative regulation problem that is now causing inability to communicate. She’s only 81. She is otherwise healthy but the disorder of her brain being unable to maintain its connections will shorten her life very substantially. Her older sister had Alzheimer’s and the disease was very prolonged too.
    I use supplements myself. I will be 62. So far, no problems.
    So little is yet known. Brains are essential.

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