Thursday, December 28, 2006

Is Shakespeare good for the brain ?

Last week The Times reported that reading Shakespeare can excite the brain in a way that keeps it "fit", so researchers at the University of Liverpool are claiming. They are investigating whether wrestling with Shakespeare's innovative use of language can help to prevent dementia. Whilst monitoring participants with brain-imaging equipment, the research team found that certain lines from Shakespeare, and other great British writers such as Chaucer and Wordsworth, caused the brain to "spark" with electrical activity because of the unusual words or sentence structure. In particular, the use of "functional shift", such as when a noun is used as a verb, causes the brain to react "in a similar way to putting a jigsaw puzzle together", reports Philip Davis, of the university’s School of English. Professor Davis, who has a book out next week called Shakespeare Thinking, believes that reading classic literature helps children in their wider studies.

Thanks to Lee at Lowebrow Blog for the link.


Odile S said...

This is a very exciting result. It shows that mind does influence the matter. I'm putting a link to your blog on mine. The subtitle of my blog is "Metaspeak about human universals trying to promote more thinking (and... okay verbalizing)"
I have a few other scholars reading my blog.

Michele said...

I'll take a look at your blog at some point...