Last week, I read an article in the New York Times about the science of reading fiction. We who love to read (and write) have always known the draw of a good story: the chance to experience a world and a life that's different from our own. Now it looks like neuroscience has proven that to be true:
"The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated."
The article goes on to say that we use the same parts of our brain when we're trying to understand characters in a story as when we're trying to figure out the people we meet in real life! In fact, people "who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective."