Last week I happily came across news related to two of my favorite mystery writers:
- Post-40 Bloomers: You’ve Come a Long Way, Lady James: about British author P.D. James
- Laura Lippman: By the Book
Good stories, then, not only help us relate to the hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell pointed out, but the act of reading them actually can reconfigure brain networks. This means that not only are we able to escape from our problems while reading, it also increases compassion to another’s suffering — as well as perhaps to one’s own — which can be a major aid to self-growth and healing, as well as helping to decrease anxiety and depression.
More on how stories affect the human brain:
Stories without key elements–including a climax and denouement–do not engage the brain in the same way. Indeed people ignore them.
Have you ever felt your pulse quicken when you read a book, or your skin go clammy during a horror story? A new student project out of MIT wants to deepen those sensations. They have created a wearable book that uses inexpensive technology and neuroscientific hacking to create a sort of cyberpunk Neverending Story that blurs the line between the bodies of a reader and protagonist.
Called Sensory Fiction, the project was created by a team of four MIT students–Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, Julie Legault, and Sophia Brueckner–who took part in Science Fiction To Science Fabrication class, a multimedia course that uses sci-fi as both inspiration and caution for the technology of the future.