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Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the fifty-shades-of-grey-matter dept.

Science 110

cold fjord writes "The Independent reports, 'Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading ... The new research, carried out at Emory University ... found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory. The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the primary sensory motor region of the brain. Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition — for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running. "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study. "We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else's shoes in a figurative sense. Now we're seeing that something may also be happening biologically."'"

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110 comments

HOAX ALERT !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818233)

Bull-shit !!

Re: HOAX ALERT !! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818531)

Wrong story faggot

Programming and Puzzle Solving (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818243)

I have to believe that programming and puzzle solving have similar effects. Also, I have to believe that being elected to any government position has the opposite effect.

Re:Programming and Puzzle Solving (3)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45818963)

Being elected to government requires imagining what everybody wants, then projecting that image as convincingly as possible. It requires considerable brain power to achieve this, but comes at the expense of diminished capacity in other areas....

Re:Programming and Puzzle Solving (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45819071)

... but comes at the expense of diminished capacity in other areas....

That's what the cocaine and Viagra are for.

Orgasms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45819999)

Do programming and puzzle solving cause you to feel like your about to have an orgasm? Do programming and puzzle solving cause you to dream about people you've never met before with accurate visual and auditory details?

Re:Orgasms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45822989)

...dream about people you've never met before with accurate visual and auditory details?

How would you know if the details are accurate?

Re:Programming and Puzzle Solving (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45820371)

I have to believe that programming and puzzle solving have similar effects.

I get the same effect from reading a good datasheet.

(The plots are usually quite linear though so they won't be to everybody's taste...)

yours too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818245)

Roses are red,
grass is greener.

When I read Slashdot,
I play with my weiner.

How about video games? (2)

minogully (1855264) | about 4 months ago | (#45818335)

I wonder if a similar thing happens when playing video games?

Re:How about video games? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#45818357)

Or dropping acid?

Re:How about video games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818535)

There is a difference between adding data to a drive versus using the equivalent of blkdiscard /dev/sda.

Re:How about video games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818473)

I would expect that there would be a similar situational optimization, but that it would vary by the type of game being played. Puzzle games would improve lateral thinking, long-winded RPGs would have effects most similar to the observed from novels, twitch-shooters would improve insult vocabulary, etc.

However, I need $850,000 funding for this 4 year, small sample research project, so I can get enough information to justify a larger research project.

Re:How about video games? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#45818739)

I think work sinilar to this has already started/been done. Except they were studying the effects of dreaming about activities. I saw something on pbs about it. Supposedly there was a game or several games, a group played them while another group read about playing them. In both groups, above average scores were achived when played again if the participant reported dreaming about playing the games. Their brain scans showed changs jn the brain too.

Perhaps it has to engage the imagination to make the changes. Maybe the study i'm thinking of was looking at something else. Their conclusions were that dreams amounted to mental practice or something like that.

Re:How about video games? (3, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#45819053)

so in other words, using your brain for any creative activity, even if internal-only, is good exercise for your brain.

Playing a computer game where you mindlessly click things does not achieve the same result.

Re:How about video games? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45819085)

I would expect that there would be a similar situational optimization, but that it would vary by the type of game being played. Puzzle games would improve lateral thinking, long-winded RPGs would have effects most similar to the observed from novels, twitch-shooters would improve insult vocabulary, etc.

However, I need $850,000 funding for this 4 year, small sample research project, so I can get enough information to justify a larger research project.

Why do you want a MacPro to do gaming research?

Re: How about video games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818479)

Nah you just lose all social skills and forget to shower and shave for weeks

Re:How about video games? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818911)

Dunno. Researchers never left the University, and the gamers never left their basements...

Boosted For Days After... (4, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | about 4 months ago | (#45818365)

Well, my brain is boosted for days after writing a neat piece of code.

Re:Boosted For Days After... (5, Interesting)

boristdog (133725) | about 4 months ago | (#45818411)

The brain must be boosted after writing neat code. Because months or years later I often forget the slick solution I came up with, and I'm totally confused when I look at the code again. Then the little light comes on when I figure out what I did and I think "Gee, I was pretty clever!"

Re:Boosted For Days After... (3, Funny)

DrPBacon (3044515) | about 4 months ago | (#45818477)

Beautiful code needs no comments.

Re:Boosted For Days After... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818521)

nor documentation...

Re:Boosted For Days After... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818727)

If someone other than you is going to have to maintain it one day, then yes, yes it does. In a professional environment, the answer is always yes.

Just because I can figure out what a piece of code is doing doesn't mean I'll know why that was the chosen implementation. No comments means I and anyone else who has to look at it have to waste time figuring out if the person had a good reason for a certain approach or they just didn't know what they were doing.

Code tells the what. Comments tell the why. Both are important in a team environment. Sadly, most people seem incapable of writing meaningful comments.

Re:Boosted For Days After... (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 4 months ago | (#45818981)

Before you can tell why, you have to know why...

Re:Boosted For Days After... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 months ago | (#45820907)

Before you can tell why, you have to know why...

Knowing Why is often not that important. Why something was done in a particular way (or done at all) may have (usually has) more to do with who wrote the code, their particular proclivities, or prior experience, (or, just as often, the lack thereof).

Programmer's razor: Never attribute to genius what is adequately explained by befuddled hacking about until something works. The more programmers that have touched the code, the more likely this is to be true.

My own rule of thumb is when encountering non-transparent code, including overly clever, or opaque code, (my own or others): if I spend more than 5 minutes trying to figure out what it is doing, I add comments to the code, explaining it in detail. This will save me 5 minutes in the future.

If I can't document it with comments in the code, I don't understand it myself.
If documenting it with comments in the code proves embarrassing, I try to re-write it then and there.
A "fix" to the comments in the code is as important as a fix to the code itself.

Comments boost or degrade job security? (1)

See Attached (1269764) | about 4 months ago | (#45820681)

Is there a deep seated conflict of interest though? Do good comments affect job security? It would seem that to get a promotion, you need others to follow up on the work you have completed. But this all goes away when you are let go or outsourced. There ... I said it!

Re:Boosted For Days After... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818927)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

. (captcha: succinct)

Re: Boosted For Days After... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45819913)

Comments are your friend.

Re:Boosted For Days After... (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 months ago | (#45820237)

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." --Brian Kernighan

Re:Boosted For Days After... (3, Interesting)

thoughtlover (83833) | about 4 months ago | (#45820917)

The brain must be boosted after writing neat code. Because months or years later I often forget the slick solution I came up with, and I'm totally confused when I look at the code again. Then the little light comes on when I figure out what I did and I think "Gee, I was pretty clever!"

I've found that my brain is boosted (often for up to as long as two weeks) after skiing or a long bike ride. I often find the solution to a problem soon after rigorous physical activity. It's also interesting to learn that physical activity aids cognitive health.

Re:Boosted For Days After... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45821065)

I know, right? I'm often surprised at the ingenuity (as well as stupidity) of my past self.

Cumulative? (5, Informative)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 4 months ago | (#45818385)

The big question - is this cumulative? I want to improve my IQ, so I'll read 3-4 books this week ... but wait a minute, this sounds like school.

Also, this study was done on students. At university (or college, for our american viewers). And didn't eliminate free time or stress relief as possible factors. Also, it was done in the USA, which doesn't have the most homogenous distribution of literacy (or even a consistent measure for literacy).

I'm not saying it's bad science, I'm just saying there's another article about junk science on slashdot ... today ... and they're linked by correlation (but not causation). Also? Topical XKCD comic [xkcd.com] .

Re:Cumulative? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 4 months ago | (#45818549)

That is actually what I miss the most from the school days - enough free time to be able to read a different novel every day.

Re:Cumulative? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 months ago | (#45820109)

That's one reason I'm really happy that I'm retiring in two months, more time to read, but more importantly more time to write. It took me four years to do Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] simply because I had to waste my days chasing dollars.

Re:Cumulative? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45819111)

I'm not saying it's bad science, I'm just saying there's another article about junk science on slashdo

Or is it that you just didn't ready any of the study [liebertpub.com] ?

Re:Cumulative? (3, Interesting)

Reapy (688651) | about 4 months ago | (#45821003)

Totally anecdotal, but when I get the bug to read a book and really get into it, it sort of reactivates my my imagination. I start writing a few more random things and will pull out a pencil and doodle in my 'design' book, or I just have much more clearly defined thoughts about stories to write or things to make. I've always just associated this with any kind of excitement, but thinking about it, reading definitely gives a different kind of 'awake' feeling than a good game or movie would.

Coding doesn't really jolt my imagination, i typically feel good when a section is done and everything works well and is neatly organized, but have expended most of my energy in doing that, there isn't much left. When I read a book it is more coasting through someone elses work, so I feel awake mentally, ready to do something, rather than needing to randomly mash buttons in a game or something post coding.

Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#45818407)

So . . .

just thinking about sex, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of sex

Now, y'all excuse me, I'm off to "boost my brain" . . .

Re:Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#45818493)

Just wait until the church lady finds out about thus and makes a connection to porn/smut. Maybe you will go blind, maybe you won't. Maybe it will make you a deviant, maybe it won't. But i can see the church lady from saturday night live railing about how special this is.

Re:Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818721)

Dana? Is that you?

Re:Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45823367)

There is no Dana, only Zuul.

Re:Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 4 months ago | (#45818943)

Yeah, doctors keep saying that, but when I asked one to help me solve that problem and boost my brain she slapped me!

Re:Doctors also say that sex is good for you . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45821055)

Noooo.. tell me you didn't go in for your appointment and sing this [youtube.com]

Anecdotally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818449)

I'm ridiculously creative after finishing a book or watching a movie. Priming strikes again.

The next task is to find a good book. (1)

codefool (189025) | about 4 months ago | (#45818459)

So many books - so many lame, lame books.

Re:The next task is to find a good book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818709)

Try something from Brandon Sanderson. Best contemporary fantasy author we have these days.

Re:The next task is to find a good book. (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about 4 months ago | (#45818899)

Try something from Brandon Sanderson. Best contemporary fantasy author we have these days.

Agreed. I just finished "The Way of Kings". It ate up most of my vacation but I don't regret it a bit.

Re:The next task is to find a good book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45819035)

Well, save up some vacation time because he is releasing "Words of radiance" (the second book of the Stormlight Archive) next march ;-)

Re:The next task is to find a good book. (3, Informative)

Rolgar (556636) | about 4 months ago | (#45818769)

I've created a websiteabout the books I plan on making available to my children. It's called Fanatics4Classics [fanatics4classics.com] . The book covers are affiliate links to Amazon 1) because hopefully it will support the site and 2) I like to read Amazon reviews for books, and hopefully others will find them useful as well 3) Amazon has covers for most books, and using their bandwidth is free.

I have an index (linked) of the best 800 fiction books and a huge history selection from Gutenberg (and torrents to download all of those books in either epub or mobi (for Kindle)).

The Amazon links include all of the Gutenberg fiction (for those who like printed books or want to view the reviews) as well as another thousand books from the 20th century that are still under copyright. All of them are organized by reading level and genre.

The site is not completed yet. I'm planning on linking to the best works of Science and other areas of study, a much more extensive list of history,and links to other sites my wife finds useful in homeschooling our kids.

I'm doing this because my wife and I like the Thomas Jefferson Education [tjed.org] model, and while they have a good selection of books on their site, I felt it was incomplete. Anyway, browse around, find something interesting, and read a book.

More (5, Interesting)

lonechicken (1046406) | about 4 months ago | (#45818481)

They need a followup study. Just 21 people? How about listening to an audiobook? Does it have the same effect? When I'm bored at work and don't have to worry about distractions to my programming, I listen to audiobooks instead of music.

Re:More (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 months ago | (#45818643)

I'd also like to see a control group and a larger sample size, with double-blind testing.

This is a nice piece of info, but there is a big difference between an anecdote versus a properly conducted scientific study that can be checked off in a peer reviewed paper.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818767)

The idea is immersion in the book... in other words, making your brain model the world you are reading. I suppose that may work for audio books, but I doubt most people who uses them spend hours listening without doing anything else, while reading a book requires your full attention.

Does It Matter Which Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818511)

Or should it simply be one the reader finds interesting and can become involved ? Granted, there's a massive scale difference between "50 Shades of Grey" and "Crime and Punishment" but the former is a lot easier to read while the later will make you tear your hair out to stay awake. Taste changes the more one reads so one could grow into better literature, but it would seem to be more important to pick something interesting rather than overtly challenging. Of course, I could have read the article but that seemed to much.

It has always worked for me (3, Interesting)

Gavin Scott (15916) | about 4 months ago | (#45818517)

I find that reading a good book is like a complete exercise workout for your brain, and I know I feel a lot sharper when I'm reading regularly.

If I'm having trouble working through some problem or other then taking some time to read is always helpful, even if the subject of the book is unrelated to the problem at hand.

It seems as though it needs to be something with a lot of prose but either fiction or non-fiction works.

Moderately technical non-fiction is OK as long as it is interesting and mentally stimulating (makes you stop and think etc.).

But pure technical books don't seem to help at all and may just clutter things up with new knowledge that the brain is trying to assimilate. So for example pretty much anything from O'Reilly will not make me feel generally smarter even though it may be very good at cramming in the domain specific knowledge I need for some project.

So just reading tech books is not very helpful at all, and needs to be supplemented with more general works from my experience.

G.

Re:It has always worked for me (4, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45818737)

It seems as though it needs to be something with a lot of prose but either fiction or non-fiction works.

Moderately technical non-fiction is OK as long as it is interesting and mentally stimulating (makes you stop and think etc.).

But pure technical books don't seem to help at all and may just clutter things up with new knowledge that the brain is trying to assimilate. So for example pretty much anything from O'Reilly will not make me feel generally smarter even though it may be very good at cramming in the domain specific knowledge I need for some project.

So just reading tech books is not very helpful at all, and needs to be supplemented with more general works from my experience.

G.

Even more interesting is that the effect measured only applies to paper books. When the same book is read from an e-format, there is no lasting effect. This coincides with other studies that show that reading an e-book utilizes different parts of the brain than an actual book. The e-book registers in the same areas used when watching tv or a movie. The pathways used to interpret the information presented are different.

All of that said, however, researchers indicate that more study is needed to determine if there is a bias to such data (book vs e-book) because most subjects being tested, grew up with traditional books. They estimate it will be another 10 to 15 years before adult subjects could be studied to see if growing up primarily with e-books alters the brain function in the same way. In otherwords, are the results for books because the subjects tested had their neural pathways developed using books (in which case would the results be the same if they had been formed by e-books)?

Regardless, though, the study shows that reading is good, or as they used to say in the 70s (in the US) Reading is FUNdamental.

Re:It has always worked for me (1)

bayankaran (446245) | about 4 months ago | (#45819137)

Even more interesting is that the effect measured only applies to paper books. When the same book is read from an e-format, there is no lasting effect.

Research or not the above is bullshit. I am reading Don Quixote right now - on an E Reader. I don't think my brain or me cares about how I read it.

Re:It has always worked for me (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45819437)

Even more interesting is that the effect measured only applies to paper books. When the same book is read from an e-format, there is no lasting effect.

Research or not the above is bullshit. I am reading Don Quixote right now - on an E Reader. I don't think my brain or me cares about how I read it.

You would be wrong. FMRI studies show that different areas of the brain are used depending on whether one reads a paper book or an e-book. Search slashdot, there were several articles related to those studies in the past.

Re:It has always worked for me (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45819161)

Even more interesting is that the effect measured only applies to paper books. When the same book is read from an e-format, there is no lasting effect.

Citation, please. It may simply be a matter of practice. About a year or so ago, I started reading e-books on my iPad. Initially, I noticed that I could not get 'absorbed' into the novel like with paper - a state of ignoring much of the outside world and concentrating on the book. After a while, I noticed that I could indeed do that and I enjoyed reading on the iPad. Now, I greatly prefer it (other than Amazon's crap method of inserting graphics - a bit of extra resolution won't hurt you guys) to reading on paper. It's easier to hold, easier to control the light and the single page format just seems more absorbing.

I'd be interested in any actual research into that - especially young'uns who have essentially started out on ebooks.

Re:It has always worked for me (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45819457)

just search slashdot, it was covered several times previously.

Re:It has always worked for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45821425)

That is not a citation. That dismissive attitude does not strengthen your statement at all. No one will believe you, nor will those who disbelieve you go out of their way to do your research for you.

You are, in fact, trolling.

But then, you probably knew that already.

Re:It has always worked for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45822179)

I found a citation: http://www.teleread.com/e-readers/the-science-of-the-reading-brain-does-the-brain-process-screen-reading-differently-than-paper-reading/

Basically, it sounds like a couple people made the claim that they're different and that was taken to mean reading paper books is better than ebooks. As of 2012, there was no actual research. I agree with the linked comment made by Xendula. Paper books have their unique feel, weight, and scent all of which helps reinforce what you're reading with that book. When reading multiple books on a Kindle, all books have the same feel so it'll be harder to have a sensory key for that material.

Another link: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2009/10/16/reading-e-books-and-the-brain/

Re:It has always worked for me (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | about 4 months ago | (#45822885)

I wanted to agree with that workout for your brain comment but in a different context: A few years ago I was participating in "National Novel Writing Month". Normally I don't try to be creative at all (successfully utilizing Linux in a lengthy project not withstanding) but for the 30 days of November I wrote for four hours a day creatively for the whole month (the goal is 50k words in 30 days. I finished in about 27). About two weeks in I started having some really weird/messed up dreams.

I was thinking about this recently and it occurred to me that if my leg or arm muscles have a burning sensation after a work out at the gym or running seven miles it makes just as much sense for the equivalent to happen to this grossly under-utilized region of my brain. Exercising of this "muscle" that doesn't normally get any exercise should result in some equivalent sensation as a result. I mean it makes sense.

This story also made me wonder about this affect int he context of a good, stimulating TV show like the little-known Damages. I've always thought of it as pretty much as close to a "visual novel" as you'll ever see. It wouldn't surprise me if the same study was done to somebody who just watched a season of Damages straight through with no ads showed the same sort of brain activity as those that just finished a book.

This is verging on pseudoscience (5, Insightful)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 4 months ago | (#45818587)

What does "boosted" actually mean? Fuck all. It's impressive that the task is sensitive enough to show up changes in the brain after reading a book, but scientifically it's not surprising: if you read a book and remembered something about it then there will be physical changes in your brain. There have to be. We've known that for decades. e.g. In 1997 it was shown that environmental enrichment causes production of new neurons in the hippocampus (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v386/n6624/abs/386493a0.html).

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45818965)

What does "boosted" actually mean? Fuck all

The study is linked to in the story. Are you saying that the abstract [liebertpub.com] (extract below) or paper [liebertpub.com] give enough details for you, or didn't you read them?

On the days after the reading, significant increases in connectivity were centered on hubs in the left angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri. These hubs corresponded to regions previously associated with perspective taking and story comprehension, and the changes exhibited a timecourse that decayed rapidly after the completion of the novel. Long-term changes in connectivity, which persisted for several days after the reading, were observed in bilateral somatosensory cortex, suggesting a potential mechanism for “embodied semantics.”

Re: This is verging on pseudoscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45819467)

Increase in connectivity does not necessarily imply improvement or increase of cognitive functions. I would wager to say, it even implies a decrease.

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 4 months ago | (#45820513)

What does "boosted" actually mean? Fuck all

The study is linked to in the story. Are you saying that the abstract [liebertpub.com] (extract below) or paper [liebertpub.com] give enough details for you, or didn't you read them?

Hmm, something is up. I read the summary and the article. After reading your post I re-read the article looking for the details you linked. I still don't see them. Thanks for those links, cold fjord.

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45820653)

The link is small, and towards the end of the summary. I am happy to oblige. I hope you enjoyed it.

I will wish you a Happy New Year!

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 4 months ago | (#45822405)

No, I did look at them. The newspaper's summary is shitty but you can see where it comes from in the original article. For example, the last sentence "but our results suggest a potential mechanism by which reading stories not only strengthen language processing regions but also affect the individual through embodied semantics in sensorimotor regions." The way I see it, "strengthen language processing regions" is just as wishy-washy as the term "boosted."

I want to like fMRI but, for many reasons, the technique is too easy to abuse. The finding in this paper is cute but such findings are a dime a dozen in the literature and they mostly aren't associated with a mechanistic explanation. e.g. In this study they talk about "potential mechanisms" but they don't actually elaborate on what these are. They have no clue. Now it's ok to have no clue: we're doing science and we don't know all the answers. The problem with big chunks of the fMRI field, though, is that they're trying to squeeze more out of the technique than it can deliver and they make up for it by providing pseudo-explanations rather than admitting that they need a different technique.

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (1)

Anti-Social Network (3032259) | about 4 months ago | (#45819581)

What does "environmental enrichment" mean? Better nutrition? A nanny called GLaDOS? Your link does not say, and I'm rather skeptical of your argument. Given the vocabulary and glut of random facts I have picked up from reading, I'd say TFS's reported result is hardly surprising, but still significant to keep in mind for educational purposes

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 4 months ago | (#45822185)

Normally rats and mice are kept in a bland cage, usually with other litter mates. "Environmental enrichment" means they get lots of toys to play with. e.g. running wheels, bars to run along, perhaps painted walls, etc, etc. The effects of environmental enrichment on brain structure have been shown many, many, times using different techniques and in different brain regions. Another pair of references, which I tried to track down but couldn't (I forgot the author names, oops), showed that neurons in cortex sprout more connections and maintain those connections when the animals are switched to an enriched cage. Those authors actually imaged the same living neurons across many days (weeks, actually, IIRC). The opposite has also been shown: rearing animals in an environment with few stimuli causes permanent changes in the brain and the animals have an restricted sensory perception (Google terms such as "monocular deprivation" and "stripe rearing").

Re:This is verging on pseudoscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45821685)

What does "boosted" actually mean? Fuck all.

Full Definition of BOOST
transitive verb
1: to push or shove up from below
2: increase, raise <plans to boost production> <an extra holiday to boost morale>
3: to promote the cause or interests of : plug <a campaign to boost the new fashions>
4: to raise the voltage of or across (an electric circuit)
5slang : steal, shoplift

From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818667)

for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

Hah turns out I am atheletic after all.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45819119)

Maybe you should think about entering spelling bee as well :>)

Same with music (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818671)

Band practice on a weeknight typically means my head hits the pillow at 1:30 AM but the creative rush totally compensates for the sleep deprivation.

What happens after you read Slashdot? (nt) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818915)

What happens after you read Slashdot?

Re:What happens after you read Slashdot? (nt) (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45818987)

It's probably a mixed bag. Although there is a lot of useful factual information posted there, there is also a lot of fiction. There is regularly some confusion about which is which, although some readers are more susceptible to failure to successfully differentiate than others. More study is needed.

Re:What happens after you read Slashdot? (nt) (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 4 months ago | (#45820471)

It's probably a mixed bag. Although there is a lot of useful factual information posted there, there is also a lot of fiction. There is regularly some confusion about which is which, although some readers are more susceptible to failure to successfully differentiate than others. More study is needed.

In the context of this article, fact vs fiction doesn't seem to play a role. In fact, fiction may be even more effective as it could be more engaging. The question would be, is /. engaging enough to put you into the mind of someone else? I think the answer is no.

Slashdot threads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818975)

Do you think it also applies to reading slashdot threads ? I always feel very smart and often very sad after reading the comments section.

Re:Slashdot threads (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45819173)

Do you think it also applies to reading slashdot threads ? I always feel very smart and often very sad after reading the comments section.

Interesting. I usually feel like I should take another shower. Or at least wash my brain out with Clorox.

Listening to Mozart while reading a novel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45818993)

Disappointingly, seemed to produce little brain wave benefit, possibly due to interference patterns. However, subjects were far more likely to contribute to NPR during the observed period.

Transport me into the protagonist? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#45819063)

So my reading list would be:

The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Prince
Soon I will be Invincible
The Call of Cthulhu
Richard III

Any kind of sustained concentrated thinking does (2)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 4 months ago | (#45819175)

Any kind of sustained, concentrated thinking does this. The brain is very reactive and adapts quickly , instantly to stresses put on it in terms of not only coordination , balance and physical skill but also higher cognitive functions, abstract reasoning, emotional reasoning, meditation, self control, anything you can name. I have noticed generally the more vascular and active the tissue, the faster it adapts. Brains change like that. Muscles recover after 5 or so days. Tendons take weeks to heal. Bones take a even longer to heal (change).

Re:Any kind of sustained concentrated thinking doe (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#45820475)

Any kind of sustained, concentrated thinking does this. The brain is very reactive and adapts quickly , instantly to stresses put on it in terms of not only coordination , balance and physical skill but also higher cognitive functions, abstract reasoning, emotional reasoning, meditation, self control, anything you can name. I have noticed generally the more vascular and active the tissue, the faster it adapts. Brains change like that.

How on earth do you know this? It sounds like a hypothesis you're making up.

Re:Any kind of sustained concentrated thinking doe (2)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 4 months ago | (#45821889)

The vascular part I am guessing / noting / observing.. it's a ,thing I noted a long time ago is all.

  The rest of it is information readily available . The general topic goes by the name of neural plasticity which is broken down into functional and structural .

It's not the thing I research specifically so I am not loaded down with bookmarks for you but I know all about it from undergrad

For people with no neuroscience background there's books like The Brain That Changes Itself and of course it's a big area of research- pulled from the web without much effort:

http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Neurosciences/articles/Response%20of%20the%20Brain%20to%20Enrichment/ [jhu.edu]

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/10/3019.full.pdf [jneurosci.org]

http://psyserv06.psy.sbg.ac.at:5916/fetch/PDF/21906988.pdf [sbg.ac.at]

http://www.medicaldaily.com/talk-therapy-reverses-biological-structural-brain-changes-ptsd-patients-264229 [medicaldaily.com]

Some notes on one methodology:

http://dbm.neuro.uni-jena.de/pdf-files/May-TICS11.pdf [uni-jena.de]

Aside from that, what exactly do you think phenomena like PTSD are? Purely disembodied psychological issues? If you've were or have ever repeatedly sustained hard study, you'd notice that your whole "self" changes in response to your efforts. You're smarter, your experience of everyday life is richer etc etc. This goes on as long as you're willing to inflict a good measure of discomfort on yourself.

By the same token, leaving your studies for a time then coming back is an extraordinarily punishing affair. Along with feelings of inadequacy and bewilderment when faced with the same material you left even a few short weeks ago, there's a sense of awe at your own former self's output and level of functioning.

Like the song says:

When you're up / looks like a long ways down
When you're down / looks like a long ways up

Cheers

After I read a good book (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#45819337)

I find after I read a good book that I keep thinking about it for days. Usually on things I think the chars should of did, or how to deal with situation they did.

I rarely get that way after movies or video games, but sometimes I do. (Half-Life 2 I did, really enjoyed that game).

So basically if there is a good story, my mind will keep thinking on it for a few days.

Re:After I read a good book (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#45819353)

I find after I read a good book that I keep thinking about it for days. Usually on things I think the chars should of did, or how to deal with situation they did.

I rarely get that way after movies or video games, but sometimes I do. (Half-Life 2 I did, really enjoyed that game).

So basically if there is a good story, my mind will keep thinking on it for a few days.

hit enter too soon. Thing about good books is that I usually wish they didn't end. So that could be why I think on it more then I would any other books.

Quoth the Imp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45820043)

"My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind...and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge."
-Tyrion Lannister

Other media (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 4 months ago | (#45820423)

I wonder if the effect is the same when other media is used. Will audiobooks do the trick? How about television or movies? If the only criteria is a good story that can transport you into the body of the protagonist then I suspect they would work the same. Given that they were engaging enough, that is.

Strange, I find the opposite happens (4, Funny)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 4 months ago | (#45820619)

after reading Slashdot comments. I feel dumber for days.

Re:Strange, I find the opposite happens (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45822699)

It's worse than that. I often see dumb ideas propagate from person to person. We have discovered "social media diseases."

How about a more passive experience? Visual! (1)

See Attached (1269764) | about 4 months ago | (#45820759)

How about watching an episode of Mentalist, or NCIS or some other show with comparable content? How about watching an episode of Simpsons or Family guy? How about Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

So it is true (2)

Old Wolf (56093) | about 4 months ago | (#45821499)

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.’

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