How Our Brains Process Books


In my latest article for Scientific American, I dig into some fascinating new research on reading. In this study, the researchers software that could actually predict what a person was reading about, just by seeing scans of their brain activity. What did these scans reveal about how our brains render fictional worlds? Could this research help explain how we’re able to “become” characters in the stories we read?

Dialogue was specifically correlated with the right temporoparietal junction, a key area involved in imagining others’ thoughts and goals. “Some of these regions aren’t even considered to be part of the brain’s language system,” Wehbe says. “You use them as you interact with the real world every day, and now it seems you also use them to represent the perspectives of different characters in a story.”

Read my full article at Discover Magazine.

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