Dear friends and readers,
I found this article today and I honestly thought it is a good article to share with all. I do think neither one of us should deny the impacts of reading to ourselves. As we invest a sum of money for our health and women on their beauty, we should do the same with our brain. Do not neglect it.
Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a complex, challenging novel read by millions. And now a recent collaboration between Stanford neurobiologists and English Postdoctorate Natalie Phillips suggests that complex novels such as Mansfield Park can activate key brain areas.
Casual versus critical reading
Researchers from the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging took brain scans of several literary PhD students as they read a chapter from Mansfield Park. First, the PhD students were asked to read the book casually, for fun. Then students were asked to switch to a critical reading mode similar to how they might analyze it in a literature classroom
This switch in reading modes created a significant shift in brain activity patterns on fMRI scans. Casual reading activated pleasure centers while critical reading increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the executive functions heavily involved in attending to tasks like reading.
Executive function and the brain
Executive function is responsible for more than just attentive reading: this brain function helps moderate how you divide your attention, use your working memory, and generally direct your brainpower. It plays a powerful role in decision-making.
While the findings of the Stanford study are preliminary, they make a good case for further research on the impact of reading on cognition. Philips posits that critical reading could serve as a type of training, “teaching us to modulate our concentration.”
There is other evidence that reading can be good for your brain. A 2007 study from the Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology found that avid readers benefited from an increased cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is the concept that challenging intellectual activity — like reading or brain training — can protect the brain against negative cognitive impacts later in life.
Invest in healthy habits
The studies on reading indicate that investing in intellectually challenging habits as early as possible can benefit your brain over the long-term. So no matter what your age, unlock full access today and invest in your brain’s future.
Compiled by : Sanaa 11/12/12
Credit to : Lumosity.com