Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.
What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells, textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters."
The New York Times’ Annie Murphy Paul explores the neuroscience of your brain on fiction and how narratives offer a way to engage the brain’s capacity to map other people’s intentions, known in psychology as “theory of mind.”
(Source: , via explore-blog)