Your Brain on Poetry

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,027
    Scientists at the University of Exeter used fMRI to see how poetry and prose affects the brain.

     Scientists at the University of Exeter used fMRI imaging to see how participants’ brains responded to poetry and prose.  The “reading network” brain areas were activated in response to any written material but more emotionally charged writing aroused several regions of the brain.  These regions are predominantly in the right side and had previously been shown to produce the “shivers down the spine” emotional reaction to music.  Also, when volunteers read a favourite passage of poetry, the areas of the brain linked to memory were activated more strongly than “reading areas,” showing that reading a favorite passage is a kind of like having a recollection.  Also poetry, not prose, was found to activate areas of the brain associated with introspection.  Researchers said this is “all part of work that is helping us to make psychological, biological, anatomical sense of art.