News Stories

Reading Changes Your Brain

We know that the Visitors are changing our brains. It turns out that the act of reading changes our brains too (but some types of reading are better than others).

When psychologists used brain scans to see what happens inside our heads when we read, they found that "readers mentally simulate each new situation encountered in a narrative." The brain weaves these situations together with experiences from its own life to carve out new neural pathways.

Studies have found that people who lose themselves in a book, especially a work of fiction, become more empathetic, more attuned to the feelings of others.

In the Guardian, Gail Rebuck writes that "recent scientific research has also found a dramatic fall in empathy among teenagers in advanced western cultures. We can't yet be sure why this is happening, but the best hypothesis is that it is the result of their immersion in the internet and the quickfire virtual world it offers. So technology reveals that our brains are being changed by technology, and then offers a potential solution--the book.

"The research shows that if we stop reading, we will be different people: less intricate, less empathetic, less interesting. There can hardly be a better reason for fighting to protect the future of the book.

So if you want to change your brain, READ and MEDITATE. Here at unknowncountry.com, we think there's a place for the "quickfire" world of the internet too, and if you agree, please make sure we're still here tomorrow--and the ONLY way to do that is to subscribe today!



A very good article.

Thank you for posting.

@ "Studies have found that people who lose themselves in a book, especially a work of fiction, become more empathetic, more attuned to the feelings of others. In the Guardian, Gail Rebuck writes that "recent scientific research has also found a dramatic fall in empathy among teenagers in advanced western cultures. We can't yet be sure why this is happening, but the best hypothesis is that it is the result of their immersion in the internet..."

I have been following this trend toward reduction or loss of empathy in people who spend huge blocks of time on the internet. The immediately noticeable effect is a dismissive attitude to anyone who interrupts them regardless of the reason for the interruption. The increase in violent crime in the 15 to 24 age range for girls is especially worrying as so many exhibit a pathological indifference toward those they assault or otherwise abuse. The problem of male lack of empathy has long been with us with obvious deleterious effects on human culture and the state of the planet. If females are headed in the same direction, it would seem we are devolving rather than evolving.
As for reading being a cure: just try to convince a 15 year old that there are far better stories in books than in computer games. I cannot live without books so I'm obviously on the road to extinction and grateful for it. Brave New World? Not for me.

I am appalled by the forthright sadism I find in the media now. A BBC show tells the victim he will be made to undergo unpleasant experiences *because* others find the experiences repellant. Our networks broadcast programs where people are beaten and made to fall into pools of filth. And of course computer games are chambers of horror. As for the news, it's "If it bleeds it leads; if it thinks, it stinks." I used to work in the TV industry and this is the mantra that's drummed into the staff.
I'll keep you company on that road.

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