Have you heard about the fiction feeling hypothesis? It states that readers get so immersed in a book because of the events in the protagonist’s life.
A team of researchers in Germany had conducted a study to validate this hypothesis which they explained more clearly as: According to the fiction feeling hypothesis, narratives with emotional contents invite readers more to be empathic with the protagonists and thus engage the affective empathy network of the brain, the anterior insula and mid-cingulate cortex, than do stories with neutral contents.
These bookish neurologists used Harry Potter books for the study which resulted in the establishment of this hypothesis. This single scientific research has succeeded in pointing out that the key to getting lost in a book lies in emotionally charged book passages. Getting lost in a book mostly always occur with reading a well written fiction. It may occur in nonfictions like memoirs, but it is probably only exclusive to that.
What It Means To Get Lost In A Book
- It means the world around you becomes somewhat unimportant compared to the world in the book, albeit temporarily
- It means the author has done a jolly good job.
- It means speed reading passages, skipping some words, because you want answers to “What happens next?”
- It is not hearing when someone close by calls your name, because something is happening to the protagonist.
- It is getting to the point of cry – or actually crying – when something bad happens in the book and it affects your favorite character negatively.
- It entails shutting the book, and screaming into empty space, yelling “Why?!” or “How!?”
- It is finishing a book faster than you could have ever imagined.
Getting so immersed in a book is one of the greatest pleasures readers enjoy. Books being an escape is inarguably one of the reasons why people read. However, it is clear that this kind of immersive reading experience is only possible with fictional works.If you want to get lost in a book, check out my article of 10 books that will keep you captivated.
Why You Should Get Lost In A Book
The benefits of reading good books transcends just escaping reality or getting entertained in an old fashioned way. The act of ‘losing yourself in a book’ has lots of physical and mental health perks attached.
1. Reading is good for your mental health
Research from the MindLab at the University of Sussex shows that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out methods like listening to music, or even taking a walk. Participants’ heart rates slowed, and tension in their muscles eased up to 68% within six minutes of silent reading. Psychologists believe the mind’s concentration while reading creates a distraction that eases the body’s stress.
Getting lost in a book, in this sense, means getting hours long therapy from stress. So grab a fictional book and de-stress yourself!
2. Reading sharpens your memory
Try picking up a book – a good book – instead of scrolling through social media. Neuroscientists have shown how reading stimulates neural networks in the brain which in turn improves our social cognition and conceptual processing of abstract content, making it good for your cognitive skills too. Reading, by engaging the brain, may keep the brain active enough to prevent cognitive decline. There’s also evidence that readers experience slower memory decline later in life when compared to non-readers. In particular, readers have a thirty-two percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers.
3. Reading fiction before bed helps readers sleep better
Both authors, Tim Ferriss and J. K. Rowling, are big advocates for reading fiction before bed. Reading fiction instead of nonfiction at bedtime helps to trigger the imagination, giving the reader a higher probability of having a beautiful dream.
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.– J. K. Rowling
4. Reading stories help us think, feel, and re-imagine the type of person you want to be
When you read a good novel, you start to see the world from a new perspective, explains Keith Oatley, Ph.D., emeritus professor in the Department of Applied psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto. Reading helps us wonder or imagine how our lives will be if certain things happened to us. Put more clearly, we get to live a thousand lives, learn and avoid certain mistakes that you would otherwise have not learnt about.
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