Thursday, February 21, 2013

What happens to your brain as you read

Here's a great article on the Open Education Database that my friend Alicia put me onto: 10 Things that happen to our minds as we read.

1. Our minds make visual pictures

2. Our minds respond to the spoken word (audio books) in different ways than unspoken words (print books).

3. Reading an experience can have a similar effect as actually experiencing it.

4. Different styles of writing, genres of books, create different pathways in our brains.

5. Reading in a foreign language can spur growth in a person's hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

6. It takes a week to adapt to reading in e-formats.

7. E-book spatial clues are not as tangible as print book spatial clues.

8. Reading stories and essays trains our brains to think in terms of process or sequence.

9. Reading increases the brain's white matter. What is white matter? The part of the brain that connects all the other parts - sort of like the brain's glue.

"White matter is a vast, intertwining system of neural connections that join all four lobes of the brain (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital), and the brain’s emotion center in the limbic system, into the complex brain maps being worked out by neuroscientists." (Why the White Brain MattersChristopher M. Filley January 01, 2005)

10. Reading makes us more empathetic.

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