SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH – NEUROSCIENCE: “A Very Hard Question for Religious People” ☮

In this short video Vilayanur Ramachandran describes experiments with split brain patients, people who have had their corpus callosum cut. It is very interesting when he describes what happens when the question of belief in God is posed.

LITERARY NEUROSCIENCE: Corrie Goldman / “This is your Brain on Jane Austen, and Stanford Researchers are Taking Notes”

In an innovative interdisciplinary study, neurobiological experts, radiologists and humanities scholars are working together to explore the relationship between reading, attention and distraction – by reading Jane Austen.

Surprising preliminary results reveal a dramatic and unexpected increase in blood flow to regions of the brain beyond those responsible for “executive function,” areas which would normally be associated with paying close attention to a task, such as reading, said Natalie Phillips, the literary scholar leading the project.

[…]

Pioneering in a number of respects, her research is “one of the first fMRI experiments to study how our brains respond to literature,” Phillips said, as well as the first to consider “how cognition is shaped not just by what we read, but how we read it.”

Critical reading of humanities-oriented texts is recognized for fostering analytical thought, but if such results hold across subjects, Phillips said it would suggest “it’s not only what we read – but thinking rigorously about it that’s of value, and that literary study provides a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.”

Read more . . .