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Reading novels boosts brain function for days

A new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, has found that reading a good book could cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.

books Updated: Dec 29, 2013 15:48 IST

Researchers have suggested that reading a novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that could remain for at least five days after reading.

The new research, which was carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book could cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory, The Independent reported.

The changes happened in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with language receptivity, as well as the primary sensory motor region of the brain.

For the study, 21 students read the same book - Pompeii, a 2003 thriller by Robert Harris, chosen for its page turning plot.

Over 19 days, the students read a part of the book in the evening then underwent fMRI scans the following morning. Once they finished the book, they underwent brain scan five days after.

The researchers found that neurological changes remained for all five days after the students finished the book, proving that the impact was not just an immediate reaction but had lasting influence.