BRAIN HEALTH | 11.5.2018 | BY SHILO ZELLER, BSc.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
As technology becomes a more prominent presence in our lives, it is important to integrate other modes of entertainment into our daily routines. Our brains (and eyes) will thank us for taking a break from screens and switching to a book instead.
With the amount of distressing news being reported, it is becoming more and more important for us to practice empathy. Empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of others, is best demonstrated by placing ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Recent research has shown that reading allows us to stretch our imagination, place ourselves inside the story, and see the perspectives of the characters. The more we read and understand the motives of the characters, the more we can better understand those around us.
Further to that, connectivity in the primary sensory motor region increases in individuals that have spent a morning reading versus their non-reading counterparts. Physiologically, our body responds to what is happening in the book because of our ability to see the characters perspective. In particular, individuals that read more fiction novels are more empathetic than those that read non-fiction. By creating more connections in sensory motor cortex, we’re creating a habit of practicing empathy in the real-world.
Need some new reading suggestions? Check out the New York Times Best Sellers list.