September 12, 2012

How Jane Austen affects your brain

Have you ever wondered how your brain reacts as you read literature? Some Stanford researchers did. So they had people read Jane Austen while they were inside an MRI machine, asking them to read it for pleasure and also as if they were reading it for an exam. The participants -- all PhD candidates in literature -- also had to write essays afterward.

I'm not sure I'd be able to read anything inside an MRI machine. Those bangs, bings and bongos would distract me no end. But anyway, the researchers were able to learn some pretty amazing things about how our brains work as we read.

Here's my favorite quote: "After reviewing early scans, neuroscientist Bob Dougherty, research director of CNI, said he was impressed by 'how the right patterns of ink on a page can create vivid mental imagery and instill powerful emotions.' "

I'm not sure research was required to come to that conclusion, do you?

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