Time moves forward and today we can compare the generation that loved to read books and the generation that loves computer games. Unfortunately, this comparison will not be in favor of the latter.
Regular reading not only allows us to get distracted and learn new things, but also can literally rebuild the work of the brain. It increases emotional intelligence, promotes better memorization of facts, and also teaches you to look for alternative solutions to complex problems more effectively. Research by psychologists and neuroscientists shows that the positive effects of reading can be felt both in the short and long term.
If we compare elementary school students who studied in the 70s and 80s of the last century with the current ones, it turns out that the latter are more hyperactive, restless and tend to skip classes for no reason at all, and this is not accidental. Reading involves several brain functions, including visual and auditory processes, phonemic recognition, reading fluency, comprehension, and others. Reading stimulates the same neurological areas of the brain that work for real-world experiences. According to an ongoing study at Haskins Laboratories on oral and written word cognition, reading, as opposed to watching or listening, gives you more time to think, process information, visualize it, and interpret it internally. Daily reading can slow down age-related cognitive decline and keep your brain toned.
Reading increases concentration In just one time interval of 30 minutes, the average person performs a lot of operations: they work on a task, check their email, talk to colleagues, check social networks, and constantly respond to notifications. Reading not only improves brain activity, but also allows you to extend the time of focus and concentration. If you have difficulty concentrating, reading can help you increase your concentration time. When you read a book, all your attention is focused on the plot or the desire to deepen your knowledge in a particular area — the rest of the world disappears, and you can immerse yourself in the story, noticing every detail. Well-structured books allow us to think consistently. Thus, the more we read, the more our brain develops the skill of connecting cause and effect. Try to read for 15-20 minutes in the morning before work (for example, while driving to work, if you use public transport). You’ll be surprised how much more attentive you’ll become at work. In the long run, reading can affect the brain even more. This effect is described in the book “The weirdest people in the world” by Harvard University professor Joseph Henrich. In general, the work is devoted to studying the spread of literacy among the population, but the researcher also explained how, from the point of view of neuroscience, reading changes our brain. According to his data, learning to read allowed us to literally “rebuild our brain”, improving verbal memory. Psychologists understand verbal memory as the ability of people to remember incoming information, which is provided in verbal form. If nonverbal memory is responsible for remembering visual images, then verbal memory is responsible for textual information. Constant reading also led to a thickening of the corpus callosum (the plexus of nerve fibers in the mammalian brain that connects the right and left hemispheres). The thickness of this area indicates the number of neurons it contains ― the thicker the plexus, the more neurons it contains. In turn, the thicker the corpus callosum, the more extensive connections are believed to exist between the hemispheres of the brain. Thus, these studies suggest that reading not only allows you to learn new information, but also develops the ability to remember details, think more effectively about complex problems and find alternative ways to solve them, notes Inc.com.
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