Brains Respond to Stories as if They Are Real

Fascinating piece from the February 17 issue of the New Scientist on a whole raft of brain research suggesting that the human brain processes the information from stories in very similar ways to the way it processes information from perceived reality.

“When a team led by Jeffrey Zacks of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, ran functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans on people reading a story or watching a movie, they found that the same brain regions that are active in real-life situations fire up when a fictitious character encounters an equivalent situation (Psychological Science, vol 20, p 989). What’s more, the brain responds in the same way whether the story is in the form of words on a page or a realistic action video. “What I find really strange is the degree to which that neural activity is conserved,” Zacks says. The mental mechanisms evolved over millennia to interpret a spoken story seem to have no problem adapting to new media.”

To read the article you can register for free to the New Scientist to get ten days’ access. Thanks to Rick Davies via the MSC listserve for this lead.

0 Comment so far

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

Comment Guidelines: Basic XHTML is allowed (<strong>, <em>, <a>) Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically generated. URLs are automatically converted into links.