Originally Posted by TGS
The article doesn't talk about how "hard" a text is - nor does it equate in some simple way the amount of brain activity with how "good" a text is. One of the joys of literature is just that it is, or can be if that's what we are into, about much more than just absorbing stuff, but about being affected by it, it can provide us with insights about ourselves and the world we live in and it can move us with the beauty both of the content of what is expressed and the means by which it is expressed. How it does that is, probably, by activating regions of the brain that less "difficult" texts do not.
That seems to be what the article is saying in the bits of my brain that got activated by reading it.
"Using scanners, they monitored the brain activity of volunteers as they read pieces by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot and others. They then ''translated'' the texts into more ''straightforward'', modern language and again monitored the readers' brains as they read the words. Scans showed that the more ''challenging'' prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in the brain."
The article claims that the more difficult texts caused the brain to work harder. The real question just what this means. Does it make your brain stronger, like exercise makes muscles stronger?