Better Books, Better Brains

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If you’ve ever felt like reading good literature gives you more comfort and insight than any self-help book ever could, you’re probably onto something.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool recently conducted a study indicating that the brain “lights up” bigger and brighter when grappling with Shakespeare and Wordsworth than when taking in ordinary prose.

From the Telegraph:

Philip Davis, an English professor who has worked on the study with the university’s magnetic resonance centre, will tell a conference this week: “Serious literature acts like a rocket-booster to the brain.

“The research shows the power of literature to shift mental pathways, to create new thoughts, shapes and connections in the young and the staid alike.”


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →