Reading novels enhances mental outlook

New discovery that will boost the avid readers of the world! – There are a host of positive effects on human brain that are leveraged from regularly reading books.

The discovery

Researchers state that reading books from time to time has a positive effect on your paradigm of the world. When we read novels or stories, we end up thinking about them. This ultimately leads to defining and shaping our future thoughts and actions. These findings also explain why those with high power to visualize and imagine sequences prefer to read than watch videos. In one way, we tend to live the life of the character we study.

The Study

Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia rediscovered this fact in the light of a recent experiment. The objective was to study and draw patterns and inferences on the findings of the changes in the brain activity of 21 graduate students. They were all asked to read specific portions of the famous novel ‘Pompeii’. The novel is based on the actual volcano eruption of Vesuvius with the writers own imagination of a love story in the background. This novel was chosen for the specific reason that the narrative was strong and the impact on the reader is profound.

The total study was for 19 days and the students had to undergo an MRI scan daily to record the changes in brain activity.

The Impact

The reading sessions were in the evening and the quiz to test the learning was in the mornings. Post the test, there was another scan in restful state to study the differences. After the entire reading was complete, the subjects returned for few more days to take the test in non-reading state.

The following started being noticed,

  • During the study phase, there was an increased activity and connectivity in the left brain area which is closely linked to the ability to interpret language. It is called temporal cortex
  • This connectivity and exchange remained even during the non-reading phase. This is of interest and use and is generally termed as ‘shadow effect’ or ‘mental after taste’
  • Increased activity has been noticed in the central sulcus or mid brain region which represents the ability of the body to represent sensations. Hence, each activity starts at a mental level and manifests at a physical level

Although it is unclear as to how long will the effects last, one fact is evident. Reading the novel or story of your choice / role model helps you start thinking and acting like one!