In his recently published book, Reading for Life, Professor Philip Davis explores the neuroscience of reading. Using brain imaging and other monitoring technologies to record the physical responses of his subjects to the act of reading, he found that literary classics can ‘galvanise’ our brains and influence the way we process emotion, while the effect of self-help books was decidedly less dramatic. He concluded that the right kind of literary therapy could help people suffering with mental disorders such as depression and mild to moderate dementia.
Professor Davis’s research offers scientific proof of what has been known anecdotally for millennia – that reading makes you feel better. A good book is a more effective mood-lifter than chocolate, shopping or Prozac, with none of the lamentable side effects.
Print is a mind-altering substance to which one never builds up a tolerance.
Reading builds resilience, so it is a habit best acquired when young. It doesn’t take much to start a personal reading revolution. No smart device or internet connection is required: just a book, a child, and 10 minutes in which to venture into a world of undiscovered marvels.
The Daily Telegraph