Recent scientific studies have been exploring how reading affects our brains and our psychological response to people.
(1) Reading Enhances Connectivity In The Brain : In a 2013 Emory University study, researchers looked at the brains of a group of a people over 9 days. Part of the group read the novel Pompeii by Robert Harris and half didn’t. Examining fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) of the readers’ brains showed heightened connectivity in some areas, including the left temporal cortex (associated with language processing) and the central suculus, an area connected to primary sensory response, which assists in the brain’s understanding of visualising movement. This is likely because the brain visualises the movement and emotions of the character you read about in a book. ——– Most interesting was the fact that :” Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity. We call that a “shadow activity”, almost like a muscle memory,” the lead author of the study, Gregory Burns, said in a press release. So even after you have finished a book, your brain retains those benefits for some time afterwards.
(2) Empathetic : A 2013 study examined how reading effects empathy in readers. “It has been suggested that people who read a lot of fiction become more empathetic, because fiction is a simulation of social experiences, in which people practise and enhance their inter-personal skills.
(3) Why Does Empathy Matter ? : Increase of empathy is important for people, because empathy is related to creativity, performance at work, and pro-social and co-operative behaviours which looks at how sensitive people are, wrote the scientists.
(4) Reading Improves Theory Of Mind : According to Psychology Today, ToM (Theory of Mind) is “the ability to attribute mental states —- beliefs, intents, desires, knowledge —– to oneself and others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own. Of various activities, reading novels has been found to improve this ability, whereas watching television has been found to do just the opposite. In a study with young children, those who watched more television (or even had TV constantly on in the background) had a reduced understanding of others and weaker cognitive development overall. Read more fiction, it makes you a better person.