Reading Stories Activates Unique Patterns in Our Brain

A new study claims that when we hear stories, our brain patterns arise that surpass culture and language.

University of Southern California (USC) in the US’s researchers found that while people are reading stories and if they find meaning in it then their brain will activate the unique patterns. Humans love good books like, from crime novels to bedtime stories and from ancient legends to spicy romances.

Researchers mapped brain activities to narratives in three different languages, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Persian through the functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The study showed that exposure to narrative storytelling can greatly trigger self-awareness and empathy for others, regardless of the language or origin of the person.

The researchers conducted a test in which they ordered more than 20 million blog posts of personal stories through software. The posts were reduced into 40 stories about personal topics like divorce or telling a lie.

The stories then translated into Parisian and Mandarin Chinese, and total 90 American, Chinese and Iranian volunteers read the stories in their native language while their brains were scanned by MRI. During the scanning, the volunteers also answered general questions about the stories.

The neuroscientists read the participants minds while there were reading.  They found unique patterns of activation in the brain’s “default mode network” with each language and story.

“One of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience is how we create meaning out of the world,” said the author of the study Jonas Kaplan. She also said that stories are deep-rooted in the heart of our nature and help us create this meaning.

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