Shakespeare and Wordsworth boost the brain, new research reveals

Filed in Gather Health Essential by on January 14, 2013 0 Comments

Shakespeare and Wordsworth boost the brain, new research reveals

Study reveals heightened brain activity caused by the challenge of reading classic texts.
— The Telegraph

What English majors already knew

Scientists, psychologists and English academics at Liverpool University have found that reading the works of the Bard and other classical writers has a beneficial effect on the mind, catches the reader’s attention and triggers moments of self-reflection.

Using scanners, they monitored the brain activity of volunteers as they read works by William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, T.S Eliot and others.

They then “translated” the texts into more “straightforward”, modern language and again monitored the readers’ brains as they read the words.

Scans showed that the more “challenging” prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in the brain than the more pedestrian versions.

Scientists were able to study the brain activity as it responded to each word and record how it “lit up” as the readers encountered unusual words, surprising phrases or difficult sentence structure.

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