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← Your Brain on Fiction

Zeuglodon's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Zeuglodon

Comment 25 by OHooligan

Reading vs Watching: Active vs Passive. In reading, the mind is busy actively constructing the scene, the characters, the actions, and, yes, the smells. I was fascinated to see that it actually engages the brain areas that normally deal with "the real thing" (smells, textures, movements).

In watching - even the best of movies - the mind also constructs the experience, but with a lot less exercise, as so much less is "left to the imagination". I doubt the smells and textures parts of the brain are all that easily invoked by a movie. But perhaps non-verbal communication paths might be better exercised, such as well-acted emotions.

More brain-scans required, I think. May the research continue into this fascinating topic.

That said, part of the charm with movies is how much they can force your mind to think in new ways precisely because they leave less to the imagination. They also feed us evocative imagery that we can invoke when reading. More than once, I've watched a film and then mentally hired the actors to play a role in a story I'm reading!

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 18:10:33 UTC | #949254