. . . as if I need another reason to read!


One of my sisters sent me this . . . I thought you might find it interesting.

Or you might want a(nother) good excuse for reading yourself!!   ~ Linne

Brain Bulletin #85      Why Reading       Novels is Good for Your Brain
“A novel is a direct impression of life.” ~       Henry James
Good point.
Reading fiction, it turns out, is a great way       to develop your social brain.
Research shows that reading novels, for       example, shapes our brains and molds our social skills.
A study by Keith Oatley and Raymond Mar found       that reading fiction improves your ability to connect with others. The       study demonstrated that people who read fiction perform better on tests of       empathy. This result held up even when they controlled for the variable       that empathetic people might naturally choose to read fiction. The study       found that the more fiction a person read, the stronger the ability to       make mental models of others.
Another study in 2010 found that small       children who are exposed to lots of fiction material possessed a stronger       ability to read the brain states of others.
In 2009, in another study, Oatley found that       adults who read novels improved their socials skills, including emotional       stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and       extroversion.
Why does this       happen?
It seems that reading fiction allows you to       ‘live in other people’s brains’. The result is a stronger theory of mind.       That is, the ability to take the perspective of another, to understand       that person’s mental model, to see issues and ideas in terms of other       people’s experiences.
Think about these practical       benefits:
– better relationships.
– improved leadership       skills.
– increased collaboration skills.      
– greater emotional intelligence = greater       income (P. Salovey, Yale)
– excellent, inexpensive       entertainment.
– a greater understanding of human character.      
– when you put the book down, you are better       prepared for the world.
Remember – your brain is wired to see what is       essential, not what is real. Reading fiction intervenes in your cognitive       processes. It can even change your personality.
FMRI scans show the brain responding to       fiction as if the reader were feeling and acting just like the characters.      
    For more on this, check       out The       Amazing Discovery of Mirror Neurons
Scientific American Magazine recommends these       9 novels to sharpen your mind:
1.The Sorrows of Young Werther –       Johann von Goethe

2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane       Austen
3. The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel       Hawthorne
4. Madame Bovary – Gustave       Flaubert
5. Middlemarch  – George       Eliot
6. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
7. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia       Woolf
8. Beloved – Toni Morrison
9. Disgrace – J.M. Coetzee
I used to feel slightly guilty when reading a       novel. Thinking I should be reading something ‘real’. Not any       more……
Congratulations on learning something about your       brain today. The Brain Bulletin is committed to help to do just       that. If you missed any Brain Bulletins you can find them in the       Brain Bulletin Archive:
Also,       something great and ongoing for your       brain:
Follow the Brainguy on       Twitter:
You can join Terry Small’s 2650 followers for       free on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/terrysmall
Twitter is a great way to learn and fuel your       brain. I just posted a great article called
“The Science of Storytelling – Why Telling a Story is       the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains”
I will be posting, or tweeting as it’s called,       regularly about the brain. What I’m reading, watching, thinking,       doing….all as it relates to your brain. Twitter restricts tweets to 140       characters, so it is always quick and to the point. No time wasting!
Twitter has the easiest sign up page in the       world.  Even if you are not on Twitter you can check out my tweets       here:
I would also be happy to connect with you on       Linkedin:
And, Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/TerrySmallTheBrainguy
My favorite book       this month was a novel. “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. Brilliant.
It’s been a crazy busy couple of months. Highlights       include: five presentations in Ireland, keynoting the Kamloops teachers       convention, a speaking tour in Alberta, training leaders at MDA Corp., and       hanging out with teens at King David Secondary School. Whew…it’s a good       thing I love my job.
Next week, I speak in Vancouver, Victoria, and then       off for a week of consulting with clients in Portugal (I’m counting on       improved weather.). Looking further ahead, I will be speaking in Sweden       and San Francisco this August.
Now that the weather has improved,       I’ve got my bike and tennis racquet out. Keeping the lobes       active…..
Thanks for reading and……remember, you are a       genius.
Terry Small, “the       Brainguy”, Independent Scholar & Learning Skills       Specialist.
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2 thoughts on “. . . as if I need another reason to read!

  1. Holy moly Linne! 9 posts since I have been gone? I will need a day alone just for your posts! ;). This is a great (albeit backwards) way to start my reading and commenting marathon today :).

    • ‘Tit for tat’, as they used to say, eh?
      I still have not replied fully to some of yours . . .
      I missed you; and not just you; most people were busy with family and all. So nice to have you back; I hope you had a great time!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your comments. ~ Linne

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