New Study Shows Reading Makes You More Empathetic!
There are so many benefits to reading, besides helping with stress and clearing your mind. A new study on Inc.com suggests that immersing yourself in a book can help you become more creative! As Igor Stravinsky once said “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.” But how can reading help you become more innovative?
Reading a good book can relieve loneliness and make people more empathetic, which in turn can be help businesses build stronger lasting connections with customers. Being able to share new ideas with friends and colleagues is also one of the benefits of reading! Child Development professor at Tufts University, Professor Maryanne Wolf has a keen interest in studying people’s minds while reading in the digital age. Wolf explains the neuroscience of reading and believes it can help fellow writers gain knowledge on how to use books as a tool to advance in your field.
While reading, more than one part of our brain is being used. Becoming attached to your characters and their situations allows people to literally walk in the shoes of the character, granting us the ability to expand or train of thought and completely understand the character. For example, when you characters says something you don’t necessarily agree with the reader will automatically understand where they are coming from. But why does perspective reading occur in our brain?
The brain functions in more than one way while you’re reading a book that captures your interests. One side of our brain breaks down the language process and the other helps us make deep connection with our characters as we mirror their actions in our head. For example, if our character is running, a part of our mind will coordinate the actions of running and makes us feel like we are running. Wolf says "Phillips and her colleagues found that when we read a piece of fiction 'closely,' we activate regions of the brain that are aligned to what the characters are both feeling and doing."
Wolf poses the question "What will happen to young readers who never meet and begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone totally different? What will happen to older readers who begin to lose touch with that feeling of empathy for people outside their ken or kin? It is a formula for unwitting ignorance, fear and misunderstanding."
If we are not taking the time to truly understand our characters it will be hard for us to care or connect to people outside of comfort zone, stunting our professional and communication growth. It’s important to realize how vital reading is in our everyday lives and how it functions in our society.
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