Read a lot, provide tonic to your brain

John Stein, emeritus professor of neuroscience at Magdalen College, Oxford, says reading is far from a passive activity.

hidden August 27, 2012 12:59:34 IST
Read a lot, provide tonic to your brain

London: Reading is not just another leisurely activity or a way of brushing up your literacy skills and factual knowledge - it acts as a tonic for the brain too.

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield suggests that reading helps to expand attention spans in kids. "Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end - a structure that encourages our brains to think in sequence, to link cause, effect and significance," she says.

Read a lot provide tonic to your brain

Read to make your brain stronger. Reuters

"It is essential to learn this skill as a small child, while the brain has more plasticity, which is why it's so important for parents to read to their children. The more we do it, the better we get at it," Greenfield added.

Reading can enrich our relationships by increasing our understanding of other cultures and helping us learn to empathise, the Daily Mail reports.

"In a computer game, you might have to rescue a princess, but you don't care about her, you just want to win," explains Greenfield. "But a princess in a book has a past, present and future, she has connections and motivations. We can relate to her. We see the world through her eyes."

John Stein, emeritus professor of neuroscience at Magdalen College, Oxford, says reading is far from a passive activity. "Reading exercises the whole brain," he explains. Reading stories to children will help their brains develop the ability to analyse the cause, effect and significance of events.

In 2009, a brain-imaging study in the US showed that reading about landscapes, sounds, smells and tastes, activates brain areas tied to these experiences in real life, creating new neural pathways. Simply stated, our brains simulate real experiences, which doesn't happen when you're watching TV or playing computer games.

In 2009, University of Sussex researchers showed how six minutes of reading can slash stress levels by more than two-thirds, more than listening to music or going out for a walk.

IANS

Updated Date:

also read

Cyborgs v ‘holdout humans’: What our species will look like if we survive a million years
World

Cyborgs v ‘holdout humans’: What our species will look like if we survive a million years

After a million years, man may become extinct, split into several species, or evolve. Future technologies such as human enhancement, brain emulation, and artificial intelligence (AI) may result in technological forms of new species that have not previously been observed in biology

Breakthrough: A drug slows Alzheimer’s by 5 months, but will it make a big difference?
World

Breakthrough: A drug slows Alzheimer’s by 5 months, but will it make a big difference?

On Tuesday, Japanese drugmaker Eisai and its US partner Biogen reported that an experimental Alzheimer's drug had modestly slowed the brain disease's inevitable worsening. However, it is unclear how much of a difference this would make in people's lives

La La Land: Why do certain types of music make our brains sing
World

La La Land: Why do certain types of music make our brains sing

Our prediction of musical events remains inexorably bound to our musical upbringing. It is why every brain reacts differently to a piece