In an effort to justify the benefits of reading fiction to the average non-reader, I came across a video short explaining the effects of fiction on the brain. The video titled “How Fiction Makes Our Brains Better” is produced by DNews and gives viewers a unique perspective on the process of reading. Watch the video to see what I mean.
The idea presented–grounded cognition–relates to how people “live” the stories they read because their brain activates certain areas that relate to the subject written about or the activities described. The video promotes reading fiction to viewers in a way that comes across fresh and non-intrusive. Forever am I trying to get my students to see the benefits of reading and analyzing fiction, but my methods are not always effective. I come across like a desperate warrior on the front lines of the battle between fiction and hard fact; non-readers don’t respond to that.
Yet the video from DNews promotes reading fiction as an extension of hard study of facts and complex processes to improve our brains. So is that the only reason our newer generations will use to justify the reading of fiction? Is there still room in our lives to feed our souls the creative juices that literature can provide? While I’m happy to come across resources like DNews, which is an excellent tool for the writing instructor, I’m inclined to believe that the “justification” also demonstrates the lessening value of reading fiction for the reasons previously understood. What about reading fiction for the sake of appreciating literature?
These thoughts–all boiling down to my own reasons for reading fiction, prompt me to consider something else. If reading fiction does improve our brain power and varying kinds of cognition, what does writing fiction bring us? Discuss.