Search
  • rebeccamcneil46

Good Writers Hack Your Brain


An article by Todd Brison on CNBC today has taken me down an interesting rabbithole.


He claims that good writing 'hacks into different parts of the reader’s brain.'


While this is where I start checking whether I took the red pill or the blue pill, as readers we’ve probably all experienced characters that 'come alive', or that feeling of being 'lost’ in the worlds created by our favourite writers. Well, it looks like neuroscience can go some way towards explaining what's actually going on.


Brison’s article describes an experiment whereby subjects were asked to read a selection of words with strong odour associations alongside ‘neutral’ non-smelly words, all while being hooked up to an fMRI machine.


He reports that 'whenever the participants read words like "perfume" and "coffee", their primary olfactory cortex (the part of your brain that processes "smell") lit up like fireworks on the fMRI machine. Words like "velvet" activated the sensory cortex (which processes "[physical] feelings") of the brain.'


The researchers concluded that some writers’ word-choices and in particular their use of metaphor are able to go beyond the basic language areas of the brain to tell a story that 'produces a lucid stimulation of reality - one that runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.' In these cases, the brain can make no distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life.


It's mind-blowing stuff, and chimes with what we might always have known instinctively: good writers know how to choose the words that have the power to quite literally hit us with visceral force.



.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

#literature#metaphor#fiction#fictionbooks#fictionwriter#yafiction#indieauthors#wordsmatter#grammar#grammarmatters#editing#neuroscience #proofreadingmatters #proofreaderlife#proofreadersonline #proofreaderforhire#proofreader #copyeditor #englishlanguage #spelling #punctuation #writingcommunity#writersofinstagram#indieauthorsofinstagram#writersnetwork#selfpublishing#authors

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All