It’s Official, Reading Changes Your Brain

Last Updated:  | By: Careers

Ever read a book so compelling you felt your heart would burst?

A new study suggests that reading a book stimulates changes in your brain which are strong enough to linger for days after finishing a page-turner. More impressively, the study reveals that you are not only psychologically affected by a book, but that your brain is affected biologically as well — as if you’re experiencing the adventures yourself!

Scientists at the Emory University, Georgia, looked into how great narratives affect the brain and to everyone’s surprise, discovered that reading novels brings about “embodied semantics”; what we read stimulates cognitive processes in our brain that biologically affects us.


The scientists discover that even if the participants of the study have read the assigned novel the previous evening, the brain activity was still increased the morning after, suggesting the lingering effect reading has on the brain. What this means is that when we achieve high brain connectivity it’s easier for the brain to achieve experience memory, to feel as though it has experienced what’s being read. For instance, when you’re reading about your favorite protagonist finally meeting his loved one, you’re more likely to experience an approximation of the emotions and sensations the protagonist is.

Another important finding, the neuroscientists discovered is that this increased brain connectivity was also present in brain areas that link thinking and acting. In other words, when your brain connectivity is increased and you’re thinking about hitting the gym, you’re more likely to do so.

The study comes to confirm that the level of identification we feel with a protagonist is not limited to  am emotional level, reading books actually stimulates physical and biological responses in us.


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