I was fascinated by an article dated January 4, 2014 in the Science section of The Independent, a British newspaper. The article noted research done at Emory University. It revealed that reading a gripping novel can trigger measurable changes in brain function, lingering for as long as five days. The research found reading a compelling book may cause heightened connectivity and neurological changes in the brain which registered in the left temporal cortex, an area associated with language reception and other important brain functions such as sensory and motor activity.
Professor Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist and author of the study, said, “The neural changes we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist. We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”