Recent studies have shown that reading books can help improve cognitive skills and make people smarter. One study, published in the journal Science, found that reading literary fiction can help people become better at empathizing with others and understanding their feelings. The study participants who read literary fiction performed better on tests of social cognition than those who read non-fiction or popular fiction. In another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Santa Barbara, students who read a passage from a novel performed better on tests of visual perspective-taking than did those who had read a non-fiction passage or nothing at all.
These studies aren’t going to make reading books an IQ test requirement anytime soon but they do indicate that reading books can have a positive impact on our cognitive skills. And that’s something we should all be happy to hear, especially given how quickly the world is moving these days and the increasing importance of having strong cognitive skills. So next time you’re feeling bogged down by homework or work, take a break and crack open a book. You might be surprised at the way reading improves your cognition and makes you more intelligent. Not to mention, it’s a great way to relax and de-stress. The benefits of reading go beyond just cognitive skills, too. Reading has been shown to have numerous other benefits, including, improved focus aid concentration, increased knowledge and understanding of the world, improved vocabulary and language skills, enhanced creativity and imagination, greater empathy and understanding of others, and better ability to understand complex concepts.
Watching television on the other hand can have a negative impact on your brain, according to recent research. A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that children who watched more than two hours of television per day had measurably lower test results in reading, mathematics, and geography. The study suggests that watching too much television can actually damage the brain. One reason why watching television has an impact on the brain is because it limits how much you engage with other people. Watching television is a solitary activity, while reading is a social one. When you read, you are interacting with the author and other readers, which helps to improve your cognitive skills. In addition, television can be mind-numbing. It often consists of mindless chatter, flashy graphics, and meaningless entertainment. Reading, on the other hand, requires focus and concentration. It requires you to engage your imagination and creative thinking skills. This is why reading can actually make you smarter.