Sporcle, the leading provider of trivia entertainment on the web and home to over one million quizzes on every topic imaginable. People use Sporcle for a variety of reasons including mental stimulation, revision, and, most often, procrastination. You may have taken the quiz in which you name the world’s countries and capital cities against the clock, or maybe the Pokémon character quiz tickled your fancy, but fear not bookworms, now you have over a thousand Shakespeare quizzes to take your mind off things.
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Typing “Shakespeare” into Sporcle’s search engine gathers you over 1,400 quizzes. A little more on the silly side are quizzes entitled Murdered By Shakespeare for which you an see my above average score below, Baby Names by Shakespeare or, my personal favorite, Shakespeare’s Kitchenin which you must name the food and drink items mentioned in all of Shakespeare’s plays. I never said things didn’t get advanced.
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The most popular of the quizzes dedicated to Shakespeare’s literary canon are Shakespeare in Plain English, definitely one for revision, Complete the Shakespeare Quote, also pretty necessary for students of Shakespeare and most importantly, a quiz entitled Shakespeare or Hip-Hop, which as you can see was quite challenging for me to differentiate.
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You can put down your Shakespeare anthology now… You no longer need it.
The research committee taught 30 adult women, from two villages in India, how to read. Participants went under functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to study brain functions before and after learning to read the Devanagari alphabet. Over the course of six months, they learned letters, then monosyllabic words, and eventually left the program with the ability to read and write at a first-grade level.
When studying the brain scans, scientists expected to find minor changes in only the brain cortex, a part of the brain that adapts quickly to new challenges. Instead, they found that the positive results went even deeper. “We observed that the learning process leads to a reorganization that extends to deep brain structures in the thalamus and the brainstem,” they said. Learning to read and write specifically enhanced a part of the brainstem called the superior colliculus, as well as the pulvinar, located in the thalamus, which “adapt the timing of their activity patterns to those of the visual cortex.”
Basically: the brain function that helps filter and absorbs useful information develops as the reader becomes more and more proficient in reading.
This study not only showed how adaptable the human brain is even when in your 30’s or 40’s, but also how the effect of reading can cause your brain to fine tune itself as the new learner becomes better at reading.
Seeing how reading affects different parts of the brain also changes how we perceive issues relating to reading. Dyslexia was always believed to be a disorder of the thalamus. This new research shows that it could be that their visual cortex issue or “a disruption of the underlying neural pathway connecting the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus with V5.” Hopefully, this will inspire better treatment as we have a better idea of which part of the brain causes dyslexia.
So, keep reading and help your brain become stronger!