I'm sure most of us have read books that have had an influence on our lives and perhaps even altered our thinking or beliefs. But researchers now claim to have shown that even reading a novel changes the way our brain works - perhaps even permanently.
To quote from the study - which you can read in pdf format here.
Must admit that bit was a little hard going for me but in simple language the scientists claim that favourite books create 'muscle memory', meaning we may actually start to mimic a character's actions or life choices.
From what I've read of the study I'm not sure how long these changes in brain function last. It's indicated that they last for at least five days but the researches seem to be saying that they could last longer than this, though no time span is specified.
Ah well five days isn't so bad, unless the influences are reinforced over and over - which is what the manipulators try to do.
The Daily Mail wrote about this subject with the headline: Read on to change your life. They then began by saying "Great novels really can change your life ..."
But that surely means that 'bad' novels and reading matter can change our lives too. What we read and see helps make us what we are. Looking at some of the stuff on the Internet that's a scary thought.
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Interesting post. I wonder what kind of changes the brain muscle goes through if you write novels?ReplyDelete
There's a thought - probably anything we do regularly changes us.Delete
Which could be why scientists couldn't determine how long the changes last - because they are no longer a change but the process.Delete
Wow - we mimic the character's actions and life choices. That's freaky. Can't see it always being true though, only maybe if we have a sympathy with the character.ReplyDelete