What Does Reading Do to Your Brain?

Find out how you can improve your brain health by reading every day.

How borrowing library books can enhance your cognitive function.

Reading is often mistaken for a leisurely activity when a lot is going on in the mind. Reading requires your brain to do many things at once, activating its connections and enhancing your literary skills in many different ways. Here are some scientifically proven methods of reading that keep your brain healthy


Enhanced Brain Connectivity

In a fascinating study by Emory State University's Center for Neuroplasticity, researchers discovered that reading a narrative story enhances brain connectivity. In other words, areas of the brain that you may not usually use are activated. They even found that this continues in a resting state, meaning that the effects last long after you finish reading. For example, the study found that the left temporal cortex, the area in charge of language reception, was significantly heightened when the participant was reading. 


Increased Empathy

Studies have also shown that reading may contribute to increased levels of empathy. How does this happen? The answer lies in how our brain connects to the experiences of others. In the case of reading, it is how we relate to the characters' lives. Although they may not be physically present, our brains place us in the characters' shoes, making us believe we're living it alongside them. Reading is the oldest form of virtual reality in which we view the world of the characters as if we're there with them.

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Brain Rewiring

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, reading could rewire your brain. It alters your brain tissue to the point where you may develop new white matter, as discovered by a pair of scientists in 2009 when studying the effects of reading on children. They found that reading enables the brain to "rewire" itself, thus creating white matter that contributes to better mental communication. In other words, people who struggle with reading may improve by participating in the activity more often. 

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Better Memory

Despite its appearance, reading is a fantastic exercise for the brain, and that's not an over exaggeration. According to science, reading enables several brain functions, including phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and visual and auditory processing. Studies conducted by the Haskins Laboratories for the Science of the Spoken and the Written Word found that this strengthens the brain muscles. In other words, reading could be a significant contributor to better memory. 

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