Running In Place By Reading In Place, Kind Of
Reading a good book may do some strange things to your brain. Strange in a good way. Researchers at Emory University had undergraduates to read the novel, Pompeii, a 2003 thriller by Robert Harris based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy, then they gave the readers a base-line fMRI scan of their brains in a resting state. The readers were then given nine sections of the novel, about 30 pages each, over a nine-day period, and given five more scans in a resting state. And? Unsurprisingly, the researchers found heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, on the mornings following the reading assignments. But wait, here’s the strange part: Heightened connectivity was also seen in the primary sensory motor region of the brain, and a place where neurons can be activated by just thinking about running. That means, the researchers say, that reading a novel can psychologically transport you into the body of the protagonist. Read more from Emory University.