But a New Year's resolution to join a gym and shape up may not be necessary.
New research published in Brain Connectivity
suggests that reading a good novel could give you six pack abs like James Bond's.
Well, sort of.
No, not really.
What the study conducted by scientists at Emory University
does suggest, according to The Independent
, is “Reading a gripping novel causes biological changes in the brain which last for days as the mind is transported into the body of the protagonist.”
The study involved 21 students; each read the Robert Harris novel, Pompeii
, chosen because of its fast paced narrative. The participants, over a period of nine evenings, read the fictional story that is based on actual events. Each morning, the students' brains were scanned using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology.
Lead author of the study, neuroscientist Gregory Berns
reported that neurons were activated in the left area of the brain associated with receptivity for language and the primary sensory motor region of the brain. This same region of the brain, the left temporal cortex, is associated with grounded cognition.
The research study included a five day “wash-in” period and an equal “wash-out” time in which brain activity was recorded via MRI. Finding that neuron activation continued throughout the five days after the students finished the novel. The team of neuroscientists was able to establish that the impact of the novel on brain connectivity was long lasting.
This could explain why I always feel like author Janet Evanovich
's character, Stephanie Plum, the good-hearted, former lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter whose life is full of twists and turns and her family while dysfunctional, is a source of her strength.