How deep reading affects our brain

A study published in the Journal of Business Administration showed that books that students read in college directly affect their literacy level. The more and faster a person reads, the better he can express his thoughts on writing. And the right choice of literature means much more than a permanent written practice.

Students who read scientific journals, classical fiction and popular science literature, better cope with the construction of syntactically complex sentences than those who read plain fiction (detective stories, fantasy, science fiction) or solely web aggregators like Reddit, Tumblr and Buzzfeed. The highest marks were received by students who read serious academic publications, the lowest ones are those who read only web content.

The difference between deep and shallow reading

Deep reading is a slow, thoughtful reading of texts with complex moral questions, which differs from superficial reading not only by learning new words.

Deep reading is possible only if you have a text in which there are many details, allusions, metaphors. Then in the brain of the reader the same areas are activated, which are involved in experiencing a new experience.

In addition, deep reading helps to increase empathy, the ability to empathize. The reader, plunging deeper into the read, begins to reflect, analyze and try on what he has read into himself and his experience. Also, during the reading the person notices that it is the author’s techniques, stylistic features, plot construction that makes the book fascinating and unique, and therefore learns to write at a more serious level.

Superficial reading – these are texts that you can find in online blogs or on entertainment sites (especially articles with lists and yellow headings). Such texts lack the original style, their own point of view and analysis, which could stimulate thought. These are light short texts, on which you quickly glide with your eyes and forget in a few minutes.

Deep reading synchronizes the work of the brain departments

Deep reading involves the work of the brain departments responsible for vision, hearing and speech. When reading and writing, the following think tanks are activated:

  • Broca Center: allows you to perceive the rhythm and syntax, helps to combine individual speech movements into a single speech act.
  • Wernicke area: affects the perception of individual words and meaning in general.
  • Angular gyrus: is responsible for the perception and use of the language.

These centers are connected by a group of fibers, which, apparently, help the writer to connect and synchronize the language with the rhythm. When reading, your brain feels the intonation that is characteristic of complex texts, and then seeks to imitate it when you write yourself.

There are two ways to use deep reading to learn how to write better.

1. Read the poem

In a study published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, scientists reported finding activity in the areas of the brain responsible for reading, which manifested itself differently when reading different texts.

The more emotionally saturated the text, the more often the regions of the brain responded (mostly in the right hemisphere), which usually respond to music.

Comparing poetry and prose, scientists were able to prove that when reading poetry texts, the cortex of the posterior part of the cingulate gyrus and the medial temporal lobe activate – the areas of the brain responsible for introspection.

When the subjects read their favorite poems, the activity of parts of the brain responsible for memory was more pronounced than the areas responsible for reading. This means that rereading your favorite poems is a kind of good memory that evokes strong emotions. And strong emotions are always good for creative writing.

  • Complete collection of poems by Eduard Asadov →
  • 100 poems that will touch the most severe men →
  • Sergey Yesenin’s Poems →
  • Complete Works of Alexander Pushkin →
  • Poems and songs of Vladimir Vysotsky →

2. Read the classic fiction

Understanding the psychological state of other people is the most important skill for building complex social relations that are characteristic of human society. And it is this that helps the writer create interesting characters and situations.

In the theory of consciousness, not so much research has been done to understand how our consciousness differs from the consciousness of other people and how our emotions differ. But recent experiments have shown that reading classical fiction helps to better understand the emotions of others, the state, the features of thinking.

Reading fiction stimulates the development of cognitive abilities more than reading journals, interviews and even popular science literature.

  • 10 books proving that the classics are not boring
  • 13 books that were inspired by the CEO of well-known corporations: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ilon Mask and others
  • 9 books that change life for the better
  • 100 books that changed the world
  • 10 books with a dashingly twisted plot, which do not come off

Instead of watching TV, focus on deep reading

The time spent watching TV programs is almost always wasted, as the brain’s ability to learn and perceive almost instantaneously falls to a minimum.

Reading posts in funny public places, articles in entertainment magazines and easy fiction can be an interesting activity, but for the brain it does not do any good. If you are serious about learning how to write well, spend more time on thoughtful reading of fiction, poetry, articles on science and art that use a complex language and make you think.