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How Does Reading Affect Your Brain?

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We know that reading sparks our imagination. A reading experience that is immersive enough has the power make our mind burst with imagery and fill us with emotions. Well-written stories can make us laugh or cry. They can anger or inspire us. Our minds take off, and we envision we are in the setting of the story, existing as one of the key players. We become invested in the lives of the characters, cheering for our favorites.

But have you ever wondered what happens to our brains when we read? Is there a physical reaction going on in our minds whenever we read?

Heightens Connectivity in the Brain

The truth is that our brains do fascinating things when we read. Neuroscientists have discovered that reading can stimulate our minds when what we read is compelling enough. In a study on the Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain, researchers sought to determine whether reading a novel causes measurable changes in the brain. For 19 consecutive days, participants read pages from a book, during which functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tracks changes in the resting-state brain activity. The results of the research proved that there are long-term changes in brain connectivity. Connections were identified to increase in strength during story days, remaining elevated even after reading.

Increase Brain’s Activity for Memory

Reading stimulates your brain, keeping it engaged. And because reading improves brain function, it is considered one of the best exercises for your mind as it positively affects mental, cognitive tasks like reasoning and memory. The novels you read are full of different elements, forcing you to remember character names, descriptions, events, and settings. Therefore, the more you try to recall what you read, the more you work your mind.

In a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers discovered how reading influences the brain on a chemical level. It stimulates the mind, training our imagination and giving our brain a workout. And just like regular exercise for the body, reading keeps your brain healthy. The healthier it is, the more you avoid cognitive decline and the better your short- and long-term memory. Reading is believed to be so beneficial to cognitive health that it is considered to help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Alters Brain Tissue

There’s evidence that serious reading can cause the brain to create white matter. White matter refers to the areas of the central nervous system that act as “highways” carrying information throughout your mind. Gray matter, on the other hand, relates to tissues that process and store information. The research by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University uncovered the first evidence that reading alters brain tissue, causing the brain to rewire itself physically. With the creation of new white matter, communication within the brain improves. Therefore, the more you read, the more you help build your mind to carry information.

If you’re ready to start exercising and building your brain, Progressive Rising Phoenix has excellent titles to keep you entertained, and your mind stimulated.

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