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Sunday, January 9, 2011

From Words to Brain

You love books and you're passionate about words, but are you enough of a geek to read about the neuroscience behind them? If so, From Words to Brain is a kindle read that might entertain.

What is it that transforms a page full of words into an experience that moves us and leaves us changed? Livia Blackburne explores this cognitive process, from its objective beginnings on the page to the reader's personal investment in the story. The essay, which combines scientific expertise and a flair for storytelling, weaves together current results from cognitive psychology with examples from the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. From wolves to functional magnetic resonance imaging, the essay draws the reader through the text and ultimately beyond it. Because "the experience of reading a story does not end with the last page." That's the point at which the real development begins.

Livia Blackburne, using the example of "Little Red Ridinghood", tells the story of how we understand stories. She takes us on a fascinating journey from from ink to words; from words to images; from images to experience; from experience to meaning; and finally in the epilogue, from meaning to meta-cognition (introspective thinking about thinking).

At $4 for 7,000 words, it's on the expensive side, but the reviews are positive overall, so maybe it's worth a look.

From Words to Brain

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