Writing Secrets: It’s good for you – and it’s fun
Reading fiction is good for us – and that’s not one writer’s opinion, but the conclusion of neuroscientific research.
Studies have shown that the language of fiction: imaginative metaphors, imagery, sensory details and the emotional reactions of people, activates the olfactory and the motor cortex in the same way as if these subjects were experiencing real life.
They smell odours, feel textures and encounter action as though they were doing so in reality.
But fiction, according to the scientists, offers more than a “rich replica” of real life. Fiction gives readers “an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings”.
Unlike a movie, where you’re a fly on the wall, fiction places you inside heads, privy to every frailty, flaw and vulnerability.
It is an “unequalled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life”.
People who frequently read fiction, scientists say, are better able to understand people, empathise with them and see the world from their perspective.
“Reading great literature enlarges and improves us as human beings.”
So, never, ever feel guilty about reading, and paricularly, reading fiction. Besides the fact that it makes you write better, it’s necessary for your psychological health, and that of society.
Read Richard’s latest blog: ‘Monday Motivation: The glue that holds story together‘
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