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Why Reading Matters: A Holistic Study for the Digital Age
©2009

Human beings were never born to read. This program seeks to understand how the brain, which has evolved no hardwired “reading center,” made the leap to literacy; why reading well-crafted writing is so profoundly important to intellectual and emotional development; and whether the Internet, with its blogs and videos and games, is placing novels—a prime type of reading material for nurturing the capacity for empathy—at risk. Why Reading Matters is a trip into the space where neuroscience and literature overlap, a place where experiments involving fMRI and MEG imaging, talk of neuroplasticity and brain activation, experiences of stroke victims and people with mood disorders, and discussions of Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare’s trick of turning nouns and adjectives into verbs shed a brilliant light on the intricate interplay between mind, brain, and text. Original BBC broadcast title: Why Reading Matters. (59 minutes)

Playing preview clip:
Why Reading Matters More than Ever
New imaging technology like FMRI scanning allows the observation of the brain at work and shows that reading builds new connections in the brain. Some think the new digital age challenges the world of reading.