When it comes to books, you’re more likely to remember them as you read them than you are as you watch them.
But what happens when you’re not reading a book?
As it turns out, a book is a lot more than just a book.
In the early 1980s, Harvard psychologist John Brodsky found that people who read novels tended to think more deeply about a subject and more vividly than those who read stories.
Brodsky hypothesized that this reflected the fact that the people who were more deeply immersed in a novel thought more deeply and more clearly about the subject.
The phenomenon of reading a novel has been replicated in other areas of life, as well.
For example, people who are more likely than others to be in the habit of watching television are more apt to be more emotionally and verbally expressive than those in the opposite group.
When people read, they tend to form a mental model of the world around them and are more prone to developing and using these models.
“If you are reading, your brain is forming the world,” Brodsker says.
While the effect of reading on the mind has been well-documented, Brodski’s theory was widely dismissed as merely a hypothesis.
So in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Broadsky began working on a different approach to the subject: he and a colleague, Paul Rozin, started using a method called task- and context-based analysis to identify the emotional and cognitive factors that led people to reread.
Using a similar technique, Rozin found that the way a person was exposed to a book also had an effect on how they read.
To study this phenomenon, Rozins used a new approach called “context-based prediction.”
In this process, Roziner would ask a volunteer to read an excerpt from a book, then record their reaction to that excerpt and how they remembered it.
After that, Roziners would analyze how the volunteer reacted to the next excerpt.
This allowed him to find out if the person who read the first excerpt was more likely or less likely to re-read the book after the second one.
A second version of this approach, called the “book-by-book” approach, is used in other research.
By measuring how people remembered the book they had read, the researchers could then track the brain’s response to a variety of novel styles.
Their results showed that, over the course of a year, reading a nonfiction book, for example, led people’s brains to reinterpret the book differently.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and University of Chicago found that when a person read a book in context, their brains had a much more positive response to the novel than when the book was presented in a narrative format.
They also found that, when reading a fictional story, the person’s brain responded differently to reading it in a non-story setting than it did to reading a fiction story.
And this relationship between reading and rereading, in the form of a positive emotion or memory, holds true across cultures and even in the United States.
What’s more, when the participants read nonfiction, they also tended to read more fiction than stories.
For example, participants who read a nonliterary story tended to be significantly more likely and to read that story more often than the group who read fiction.
Interestingly, Rozers team found that reading a literary book didn’t change the way the brain was responding to a story.
Instead, reading the same story over and over again seemed to increase the participants’ emotional reaction to the story.
What’s interesting about these results, Rozinos team says, is that they indicate that reading can also make us think differently about our own emotions.
That is, it can make us feel more emotionally connected to a particular experience.
But Rozins team also found a downside to this, too: a person who reads nonfiction might not actually be reading a story at all.
It is possible that reading the story could change the story’s structure and create more problems for the narrator, and therefore the reader.
Still, Rozinis team’s results suggest that reading could be a good tool for making us more empathetic and understanding our own thoughts.
Indeed, in a study that Rozins and his team conducted in 2014, they found that after reading a piece of fiction, the participants who had read the nonfiction story also tended toward a positive emotional response.
Perhaps, the authors of this paper thought, it might be better for their participants to just read a story?
But in reality, reading is just one way that reading might make you more empathic.
One way to think about reading as an emotional skill is to consider reading as a way to develop empathy.
Empathy is an ability to feel another person’s