This is your brain on Jane Austen, and Stanford researchers are taking notes as originally seen on Standford News
It doesn’t look like this one got published (or at least I couldn’t find it on PubMed), but I thought it was an interesting topic none-the-less.
The Stanford researchers included several folk from neuroscience backgrounds and literature backgrounds. I thought it was funny they mentioned that first of all to collaborate, the people from the different fields had to spend a good amount of time learning the jargon of the other field just so they could understand each other! Oh interdisciplinary collaboration, how I love thee!
I thought it was interesting also that different parts of your brain are involved when you’re just skimming vs. reading analytically, like when you’re going to write an essay or be tested over the material. I wish the article detailed exactly what the difference way, but alas, this wasn’t a scholarly article. However, it did say that more activity in a variety of places when reading analytically. From that I am going to assume that analytical reading is good brain exercise!
So how do you read analytically? Well, for me, I would say I do that at least a little when I’m reading for book club. I make notes more of themes, characters’ development, literary devices, general artistry of the authors words, etc. So I would recommend a book club if you’d like to exercise your mind by reading. Your local library may have one, your local bookstore may have one, Oprah has one, there’s plenty to choose from on Goodreads (where I hang my reviewer’s hat)… or you can grab a few of your friends like I’ve done with a few of my old college buddies this summer. It’s not that hard! Just get a group, read the book and answer the questions during discussion time! And it can be really fun. No really. Don’t act so surprised!