Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Reading Bridget Jones could improve your love life, new study shows

Bridget JonesAccording to The Guardian newspaper a new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to "get lost" in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life. The study, forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science, is one of a series in which Jeffrey Zacks and colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track real-time brain activity as study participants read and process individual words and short stories. If the character in the book "pulled a light cord", brain activity increased in the frontal lobe region which controls grasping motions. As the character in the story "went through the front door into the kitchen", activity went up in the regions in the temporal lobes that are activated when people view pictures of spatial scenes. So, according to The Guardian far from being a way to avoid reality, burying yourself in the disastrous romantic adventures of Bridget Jones or following Oliver Twist in his journey from rags to riches could make you better able to cope with similar situations in the real world. More ...

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