What can reading poetry do for you?

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Study of Brain Activation by Poetry and Prose

Last November I read an interesting article that pointed at some research, which I’m glad to say indicated that science is finally catching up with the stuff that we poets (I include myself loosely and some might say, ‘self-indulgently’ in that category) all know already. Because I’m not one for long wordy posts and because I appreciate you have better things to do, I can summarise what scientists have discovered about reading poetry as follows:

  • predominantly a right brain hemisphere activity
  • invokes a similar response to listening to music
  • activates reward centres that can send shivers down the spine
  • boosts memory
  • increases self-reflection

So there you have it, everything you already knew officially recognised and endorsed by scientific research.

If you  are a science geek and want to read the research findings in more depth, you can find them by clicking the following link (NB – you will have to pay for the full paper): By Heart An fMRI Study of Brain Activation by Poetry and Prose Authors: Zeman, Adam; Milton, F.; Smith, A.; Rylance, R.Source: Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 20, Numbers 9-10, 2013, pp. 132-158(27)

Or for a less sciencey, much shorter and easier to digest set of words – go here to an art.mic article : Science Shows Something Surprising About What Reading Poetry Does to Your Brain

Or better yet click HERE grab yourself some first class poetry and read that :-) You’d also get a bonus warm fuzzy feeling – gleaned from the knowledge that you’re also supporting charity. Now that’s a win, win, win in my book.

About Dai Verse

Poet/muso/sketch-doodler/marathon-runner and founder of The Amorphous Poetry Project and Tap Publishing UK
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