Read This To Boost Your Brain Power

 42 % of college graduates will never read a book again after graduating from college.

Crazy, huh?!

In my case the complete opposite has happened; since I left college I haven’t stopped reading and learning!

Most of the reading I’ve done over the years has been personal development, coaching and science related. But of late I’ve started reading more fiction.

Why?

Neuro-scientists at Emory University (Georgia, US) have discovered that reading fiction can improve brain function.

Researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function.

Apparently, reading fiction improves our ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.

One of the benefits of getting outside yourself by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes through a novel is that it improves TOM (Theory of Mind). TOM is the ability to attribute mental states – beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc – to oneself and others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from ours.

The changes caused when reading a novel are registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as being the primary sensorimotor region of the brain. Neurons in this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not; a phenomenon known as embodied cognition.

An example of embodied cognition is similar to visualization in sports. Just thinking about running activates the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

Like this, reading a novel can transport us into the body of the protagonist.

Studies show improving TOM and embodied cognition through reading stories can also help us become more compassionate.

Reading a good novel allows our imagination to run wild. Novels allow us to forget about our everyday troubles and transport us to a fantasy world that becomes a reality in our mind’s eye.

And rarely is the movie adaptation of a book quite as good as the original novel, right?!

According to neuro-scientist Professor Gregory S. Berns “At a minimum, we can say that reading stories – especially those with strong narrative arcs – reconfigures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may also have profound implications for children, and the role of reading in shaping their brains.”

Right now, I’m boosting my brain power big time with my fave fiction author, Dave Boling’s The Undesirables. I highly recommend it!

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