How stories may change the brain – Novel Idea

photoI was trawling through twitter and came across this wonderful research piece from Emory University and wanted to share. Before I was a blogger, I was a prolific reader myself. It was easy, I hadn’t watched TV in decades and reading was my escape from the trials and tribulations of my exciting life as a mother of three and a special education teacher. I cherished curling up with a book and traveling not just abroad, but time traveling and encountering all different kinds of people and places. I LOVED escaping into a novel and my bedroom walls were a testament to my obsession. Once, a friend asked me if I had read all the books lining the shelves and walls of my bedroom. When I responded, ah yea, I realized what a bookish life I was leading. Especially when this friend confided that he hadn’t read a complete book since maybe high school, which was thirty some years ago… So, when I came across this wonderful reading material I wanted to share! I don’t read books anymore, maybe a few teenage tales for work’s sake, rarely a novel with any constitution. Read on and share this research with others, it has such a wonderful plot.

reading_iStock_000004826820LargeA novel look at how stories may change the brain

By Carol Clark Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel. Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, were published in the journal Brain Connectivity. “Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.” His co-authors included Kristina Blaine and Brandon Pye from the Center for Neuropolicy, and Michael Prietula, professor of information systems and operations management at Emory’s Goizueta Business School. Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the fMRI scanner. The Emory study focused on the lingering neural effects of reading a narrative. Twenty-one Emory undergraduates participated in the experiment, which was conducted over 19 consecutive days. The researchers chose the novel "Pompeii" for the experiment, due to its strong narrative and a page-turning plot. Read the rest of this fascinating research at the Emory ecommons blogspot 
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  1. […] I was blog trawling through twitter and came across this wonderful research piece from Emory University and wanted to share.  […]