How Reading Keeps Your Mind Sharp

“Just like muscles, the brain benefits from a good workout. And reading is more neurobiologically demanding than processing images or speech. As you’re absorbing, say, this article, “parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging … A sentence is shorthand for a lot of information that must be inferred by the brain.” In general, your intelligence is called to action, as is greater concentration. “We are forced to construct, to produce narrative, to imagine … Typically, when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language—when you watch a film or listen to a tape—you don’t press pause.”

“The benefits of all this mental activity include keeping your memory sharp, your learning capacity nimble, and your mind basically hardier as you age.”


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