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What Reading Does To Your Brain

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All the research says reading a book is good for you. Better even than listening to an audiobook or reading one on an e-reader. It reduces stress, promotes comprehension and imagination, alleviates depression, helps you sleep and may contribute to preventing Alzheimers. Reading is active watching TV is passive.

Reading And The Brain: Have You Heard About What Reading Does To Your Brain

25 March, 2018

Some things have the power to make positive changes in your brain. One of them is the act of reading, and it does some really fascinating things to your brain. What do we know about reading and the brain?While not every book has this power, various studies say that reading stories about characters, real or fictional, is maybe one of the most transformative activities you can do.

In todays world, many people are wondering what literature is even good for. They say you can get the same benefits from watching a movie, and more easily. A book and all of the words it contains have to compete against special effects. Not everyone reaches the point when reading where they feel like theyre in the story themselves. Hence, they prefer to see the story play out on a screen.

The art of reading is, in great measure, the art of rediscovering life within books and understanding life even better because of them.-André Maurois-

However, its clear that reading is a very different experience than going to the movies. First of all, reading demands higher levels of concentration, abstraction, and imagination. Secondly, the changes it makes in the brain are much more intense and long-lasting. Lets see what experts have to say about it

How To Make Reading A Habit

Uma Naidoo, MD, a nutritional psychiatrist and the director of nutritional & lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that the easiest way to start reading more is to schedule it into your daily life.

“Like with any activity that promotes our better brain health such as how we eat, sleep, or exercise we need to create space for these,” Naidoo says. “Setting aside a half-hour or an hour, for example, before bed or during an afternoon break could be a good idea to make sure you are reading.”

Other tips to start reading more include:

  • Keeping a book with you when traveling or commuting to work
  • Reading the news every morning
  • Reading books on topics you want to learn more about or are interested in
  • Reading a book before watching the movie version
  • Getting a library card
  • Be patient reading, like any skill, takes time to develop

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Different Styles Of Reading Create Different Patterns In The Brain:

Any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits. Stanford University researchers have found that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions, while pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. They concluded that reading a novel closely for literary study and thinking about its value is an effective brain exercise, more effective than simple pleasure reading alone.

Poetry Makes People Self

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Reading poetry helps us chill out and figure ourselves out. Researchers found that it stimulates the parts of the brain linked to our resting states, the posterior cingulate cortex and medial temporal lobes. Those are part of a network of brain regions that are active when someone is just sitting and relaxing, and have also been linked to introspection.

Zeman hopes further research will confirm this finding, since the participants in this study self-selected as poetry lovers. “I would regard this as a tentative finding, because, for example, it’s possible that people found reading poetry less effortful, hence more restful … so more work is needed to explore this finding,” he said.

Poetry MFAs, you’re in luck. You can finally put some science behind defending your academic pursuits.

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How Reading Affects Your Brain

As you read these words, your brain is decoding a series of abstract symbols and synthesizing the results into complex ideas. Its an amazing process. The English writer Katie Oldham described the surreal act of reading a book this way: You stare at marked slices of tree for hours on end, hallucinating vividly.

And as if it werent already strange enough, consider this: If you do enough of itthat is, read a lotit may not only rewire parts of your brain, but perhaps even make you a nicer person.

While the brain remains a massive and often murky frontier for scientific research, were devoted fans of the written wordand were always keen to learn more about the neurological effects of one of our favorite pastimes.

Learning To Read Rewires Your Brain

Learning to read physically changes your brains form and function.

One study looked at 31 adults who started reading at an early age, 22 individuals who learned to read as adults, and ten people who were illiterate. The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to measure and compare brain function of the participants as they responded to oral language, written language, and visual tasks.

In readers, the occipital lobe, the visual processing center of the brain, was more developed. This means that the readers could process visual information more efficiently. This brain trait could translate into enhanced imagination and creativity skills as well as being able to visualize the future better for decision-making and planning. The readers parietal lobes were also strengthened. The parietal lobe turns letters into words and words into thoughts. Its essential to writing and reading comprehension.

Reading helps peoples brains process information both visually and verbally more effectively. Brains that cant read might also struggle to process verbal information which could be why a slow reader may lag in other academic areas. Reading improves every aspect of a persons communication skills.

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Is It Better To Read Or Watch Tv Before Bed

Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis found that reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent. The Sleep Council say 39% of people who are in the habit of reading before they go to sleep, sleep very well. It makes perfect sense that an activity that reduces stress is beneficial before bed.

There Is No Frigate Like A Book

What Reading Does To Your Brain

The article kicks off with a smorgasbord of quotes that capture just how absorbing a truly great read can be, such as poet Emily Dickinson’s famous line, “There is no Frigate like a Book.” Entertainingly, we also learn that Machiavelli used to dress up in the style of characters in the books he was reading and hold imaginary discussions with them.

Machiavelli may have taken his empathy with literary characters to extremes, but even the everyday version, where you become totally immersed in a story and its characters is vastly powerful. This “perspective taking,” where we put ourselves in the shoes of others, helps us “understand the range of the often contradictory feelings each of us possesses” and “leaves us feeling less alone with our particular complex mix of emotions,” Wolf argues.

Anyone who has ever read about a character and thought, Oh, I’m not the only weirdo who thinks that way, or, I never thought of it from that perspective before will instantly understand what she means. But what happens in the brain to make these perspective-shifting experiences possible?

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Books Provide Plenty Of Mental Stimulation

Mentally stimulating your brain on a regular basis can help slow down Alzheimers and Dementia. Its like physical exercise the more you move, the better shape youre in. For your brain to stay healthy and alert, it needs exercise. Reading keeps your activity levels high and your brain power nice and strong.

Reading Improves Theory Of Mind

Reading is beneficial for improving theory of mind. This is the ability to attribute mental states to yourself and others. These mental states include beliefs, knowledge, desires, intents and so forth. Theory of mind allows you to understand people have different beliefs, intentions, and desires than your own. In addition to making you more compassionate, reading makes you more empathic and open-minded. Children are particularly able to improve their cognitive functions by learning how to empathize with a fictional character in a book.

Research has shown television and movies often have the opposite effect. Less interactive media can reduce the theory of mind. A research paper published in the Journal of Communication in 2013 showed the cognitive development of preschool children who have a television in their bedroom is reduced significantly. This is due to them being more exposed to the weakened background cacophony of peoples beliefs, desires, and intentions. So, if you want your children and yourself to have a healthy and improved brain, simply read a book.

Want to learn what it takes to become a successful childrens author? Get writing tips, insider info, helpful tutorials, and book promotion ideas to get your writing career started. The premise of all Full Cycle Publication works is to spark critical thinking while advocating a love of literature.

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Improves Listening And Reading Skills

Lastly, reading aloud will make you more aware of things that you read, hear, and also help you to identify proper grammar, sentence structure, and so on. Reading aloud also does much for shaping your interpretation of what is being said.

Youll be able to read with more efficiency and richness, expand your literary horizons and also experiment with the many ways you could interpret the written word, then translate your findings through spoken word expression.

Reading And The Brain And Empathy

How does reading affects the brain

Researchers have focused a lot on the changes that reading makes in the brain in regard to empathy. First of all, they have detected that the areas of the brain used to read and understand the actions of certain characters are the same ones used to understand other people. At the end of the day, the underlying process of both experiences is one that involves communication.

Thus, on one hand, we experience what the character does as if we were the ones doing it. On the other hand, we also improve our ability to understand others, to link situations and emotions. In conclusion: reading is a way to practice and nourish empathy. One way or another, we change our point of view when we read the narration of a story.

Dr. Mars gives a clear example of this. He cites the example of a character with a handicap. If the characters experiences are narrated in enough detail, at some point well understand how they feel. This is true even if we dont have any kind of limitation of our own. In other words, we learn how to step into another persons shoes.

These are just a few of the benefits reading has to offer. Dozens and dozens of changes are produced in the brain when we sit down with a book and let ourselves get immersed in its story.A good read transforms us. It helps us grow, connect with the rest of humanity, and even get smarter.

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Reading About Experiences Is Almost The Same As Living It:

Have your ever felt so connected to a story that it’s as if you experienced it in real life? There’s a good reason why: your brain actually believes that you have experienced it. When we read, the brain does not make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it. Whether reading or experiencing it, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Novels are able to enter into our thoughts and feelings. While you can certainly hop into a VR game at the mall and have a great time, it seems that reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for your brain.

Read Well Live Well: 5 Ways Reading Benefits Your Brain

Read Well, Live Well: 5 Ways Reading Benefits Your Brain Read Well, Live Well: 5 Ways Reading Benefits Your Brain

Picture this: It’s a stormy, springtime afternoon, and the house is drenched in solitude and silence. As rain patters against the window, you’re curled up on the coucheyes devouring the words of a novel, heart oscillating with the plot’s twists and turns.

A page-turner lights us up on every level: mind, body, and spirit. Beyond merely entertaining us, our brain reaps a handful of benefits while we read, in ways we seldom acknowledge. In fact, it’s such a healthy pastime that we say reading IS wellness. In partnership with Penguin Random House, we’ll show you exactly what we mean…with plenty of recommendations for what books will strike your fancy this summer.

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What Happens If You Read 30 Minutes A Day

Reading 30 minutes a day strengthens your brain.

When brain scans are taken after consistent reading for only 10 days, brain connectivity increases. This was especially true in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that senses movement. The brain was more active and stronger due to the way reading affects it.

Challenges Your Use Of Intonation

How Reading Changes Your Brain

When you read aloud, sounding dull isnt an option, especially if you have an audience. Make use of the full range of your voice. By speaking the words as though you have full intention of them being heard, youll be able to discover and explore your range more deeply.

If youre wondering how you sound, try recording yourself and then playing it back, noting where your voice goes up, down, starts, stops, fluctuates and even surprises you. Patterns of speech matter as they help to frame what is being said and how it is received.

Use a pencil and paper to mark your scripts to help direct your tone and vocal interpretation of the story or piece of ad copy. Youll be amazed by how some forethought and attention to detail can make an enormous impact on your delivery.

Once youve got intonation sorted out, take the time to paint your words. Adding your own flavor to a script is best done through inflection. Inflection is key to sounding unique and making the words your own.

When you bring your own experiences and motivations to a read, you make it special. Have you seen the animated film, Inside Out? If so, you are likely familiar with how memories can affect us and may appreciate how actors can use memories as fuel for their performances . Let your voice and artistry shine by infusing your words with rich color and meaning that comes from your own experiences.

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Poetry And Music Thrill You In The Same Way

The researchers found that reading poetry stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which includes regions that also tend to respond to music. Incidentally, these regions can cause shivers down the spine, linking both music and poetry to reward and emotion.

It’s not just about feelings, though: Other work has also shown that unfamiliar and complex words in Shakespeare’s works help boost the brain.

Stop Skimming And Really Sink Into A Good Book

It should be noted, however, this only applies to old-school deep reading — the kind where you get totally lost in a book — which is just the kind of reading our pinging screens are putting in jeopardy. If you’re just skimming for information or reading one of 15 open tabs on your browser, your brain doesn’t activate in the same way. You might learn facts, but you’re not gaining empathy.

“There are many things that would be lost if we slowly lose the cognitive patience to immerse ourselves in the worlds created by books,” worries Wolf. “What will happen to young readers who never meet and begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone totally different? What will happen to older readers who begin to lose touch with that feeling of empathy for people outside their ken or kin? It is a formula for unwitting ignorance, fear, and misunderstanding.”

So make time this week to put all your distractions and devices aside and submerge yourself in a great book. Such deep reading nurtures true empathetic connection to your fellow humans. In these difficult and lonely times, who couldn’t use a little more of that?

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Do Books Really Influence You

What you read has a great impact on your personality, says a new study. Reading books, the researchers say, allows people to see things from others points of view, which makes them better able to understand others. Those who prefer watching television over reading are less sociable, according to the study.

Does Reading Make You Smarter

How Reading Positively Affects Your Brain Activity ...

Based on these benefits, it appears that reading can in fact make you smarter in more ways than one. Thankfully, with the advent of e-books, a great read is easier than ever to find.

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Ways Reading Benefits Your Brain

For many of us these days, reading has been reduced to the occasional clicked-on article showing up on our Facebook or Twitter feed, GPS directions, and the monthly bills. If youre like me, you have a stack of want-to-read books that sound really interesting but that you never seem to make a dent in.

I miss reading. It used to be one of my favorite pastimes. I do read quite a few brain books these days but thats different. I miss diving into a good book that I cant put down and dont want to do anything else until I reach the last word. Then, I feel sad when its over, and I actually miss the characters.

Im jealous of my retired mother who is in a book club and makes regular trips to the library. Theres something so soothing about the quiet calm of a library and the smell of all the books. My Grandmother Eva used to go through two or three of those bodice-ripper romance novels every week. She had grocery bags full of the steamy paperbacks sitting around. Im willing to bet her goal wasnt to keep her brain healthy little did she know that she was!

Whether you read textbooks, the latest best-sellers, or steamy paperbacks, youre giving your brain a workout with every page you turn. Science has determined that reading benefits your brain in many measurable ways.

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