Whether reading for pleasure or obligation, your brain does amazing things when you pick up a book. Reading involves many regions in your brain, including your temporal lobe, Broca’s area, the angular and supramarginal gyrus, and even white-matter pathways.
When people read text on the internet, it’s estimated that they only read about 20% of the content. They skim content in an F-shape looking for important words. However, when you actually sit down and read, it has an amazing effect on your brain.
It’s thought that reading might have impacted the way our brain development evolved over time, expanding our ways of thinking. Reading was only invented a few thousand years ago, meaning our brains had to relate text symbols to spoken language and ultimately extract meaning. This experience reshaped structures of the human brain throughout history.
Impact of Reading
When reading books about a specific character, we tend to have a heightened sense of empathy and emotional intelligence. Additionally, it has been discovered that our brain reacts to physical actions of the protagonist in a process called “grounded cognition.” For example reading about running activates neurons associated with running, even though you are sitting still.
It’s often cheaper and more convenient to read books on an e-reader. Research shows that it takes a person 7 days to adapt to an e-reader if they are used to reading paper books. Our mind naturally relies on location cues, so it’s recommended that you invest in an e-book with page numbers, percentage read, and other physical cues of your progress.