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3 Ways that reading benefits your brain



Sophia Swinford - published on 10/04/18

Here's why you should stop skimming and start "deep reading."

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These days there’s always new information to consume. News alerts, magazine articles, email subscriptions, social media feeds. It’s easy to get into the habit of skimming through it all, rather than really taking the time to read. But making time to curl up with a book for a couple of hours is well worth the time, and the science is here to show it.

These are 3 things that “deep reading” does for your brain:

  1. It helps you grow in humility. Studies show that those who read more become more intellectually humble. That is, they become increasingly aware of their own ignorance and their own limits, which makes them more open to learning from others, instead of relying solely on their own judgments.
  2. It increases empathy. Taking on the perspective of fictional characters, for example, engages and expands our empathy, while also making us aware of our own inner complexities.
  3. It really does take you on an adventure. It turns out those trite quotes about reading as an adventure are onto something! Studies have shown that reading engages not only the areas of the brain associated with language processing but also the areas associated with the actions about which you are reading. For example, if you are reading about someone climbing a mountain, the associated areas of your brain will light up as though you yourself were climbing a mountain. When you read descriptions of delicious food or beautiful scenery, the areas of your brain associated with those senses light up as though you were really experiencing them.

Instead of skimming a million articles, set aside some time to “deep read.” Your brain will thank you for it.


Read more:
Should we ban our kids from reading ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and other tricky classics?

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