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What Reading Does for the Brain: The Science Behind the Benefits of Reading

We read articles, books, blog posts, and other texts daily. Moreover, in the era of informational technologies, we cannot live a day without letting our brain absorb some word combos. But what does that give us?

For instance, have you ever pinpointed why a writer of the best essay service could structure texts with profound conclusions and logical passages that make the text flow like a river? Have you ever noticed how you put punctuation marks without noticing? There are more things daily reading does for our brain, making it a versatile machine for semiotics analysis. No, we will not mention old facts like memory improvement. Here is what advanced science says!  


1. Knowledge Stability 

Our brain memorizes 90% of the text for seconds — in minutes, we experience an unharmful memory loss that erases the same number of facts we have learned. Nevertheless, a speck of knowledge remains, and we can restore it by re-reading the material or recaps. So, the brain keeps a sketch of the whole informational picture we gulp reading. A bit of revising or reading some related topics will make that sketch get more details and volume. As a result, we get superficial knowledge first, which grows later. 

Do not suppose that only traditional book reading contributes to making your brain an atheneum of facts! To grow expertise, you can read: 

  • Media articles; 
  • Digital books; 
  • Digitized summaries that give you a topic recap; 
  • Abstracts; 
  • Custom written materials at
  • Blog posts; 
  • Reviews; 
  • And any other sources with text. 

You can learn more about how our memory works by reading articles published by Psychoanalytic Review — their scientific article copies are free! 

2. Analysis Skill Boosts 

Reading always means focusing on semantics and logical connections between characters, causes and effects, events and consequences, etc. When a person starts reading, their brain generates ideas about how the text might end. When the reader proceeds, they get more facts that alter the theory of how the story may evolve. We never notice that process because that’s our subconsciousness working. 

For example, suppose you read an adventure story about a vampire who wants to become friends with werewolves despite the hate between those races. Your brain notices how the main character is not smart and approaches a werewolf boldly. There are several potential outcomes: 

  • The werewolf snarls at the vampire to scare them off; 
  • The werewolf attacks the vampire, and the vampire dies/gets an injury; 
  • The werewolf attacks the vampire, and the vampire beats them/escapes; 
  • They talk (likely, as that is the story’s beginning); 
  • And other potential outcomes. 

The story tells you how the vampire manages to talk to one of the werewolves, and they do not attack each other. Your brain comprehends that there has been a path choice. It generates new theories, given the action that has already happened. That discreet brain activity creates “templates” of answers for your mind that performs faster and generates more theories, boosting your analytics. 

3. Empathy Skill Growth 

Every person has a character that they love and want to be happy. For some people, those are the main characters and their sidekicks, like the Harry Potter trinity. For others, those are tricksters with heartbreaking life stories like Loki. 

Why do we want those fictional ladies and gentlemen to be happy? According to the University of Helsinki, our emotional responses to people who do not exist are the same as to existing people. We perceive imaginary humans as real ones. If you want to learn more, read “Believable Fictions: On the Nature of Emotional Responses to Fictional Characters” by H. Sklar — this paper is free. 

4. Automated Literacy 

Reading more bestows you another gift: literacy. Becoming more literate takes time but remains the most solid skill a reader gains. The mechanism is easy: the reader sees identical text components and memorizes them due to constant revision. 

5. Better Idea Generation 

Reading (and overall information consumption) makes our brain combine our discourse with the authors. Discourse is the set of our beliefs — religion, worldview, political choice, and other peculiarities. Of course, there are no identical discourses in the world, as all people are different even when they have the same ethnicity and live in one district. 

According to Polish aesthetics, ontology, and phenomenology philosopher Roman Ingarden, we combine our worldview with the author’s vision of our existence, which creates a unique idea. Here is how that looks in a scheme: 

  • Discourse A + Discourse A = No effect
  • Discourse A + Discourse B = Discourse C
  • Discourse D + Discourse B = Discourse E 
  • Discourse E + Discourse C = Discourse X1

Moreover, our discourse alters after we read something. Re-reading the same literary work will give us another result. For instance: 

  • Discourse A + Discourse B = Discourse A1 (+ C, where C are extra ideas that are alien to the reader)
  • Discourse (A1+C) + Discourse B = Discourse (A1+C)*X (where X is a new idea of any kind that emerges given the reader’s beliefs and alterations after the reading session). 

Seems complex? Try reading Roman Ingarden’s works independently. But we must highlight that his writing style is… elaborate. 

Final Words 

We hope you were pleasantly surprised by what mere reading gives you. What are you going to read today? Will it be an epic saga or some fun anecdotes? Regardless of your choice, it will boost your brain. Enjoy! 

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