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Your Brain & Audio Books

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Trying to find time to squeeze in your favorite books, you may have turned towards listening to audio books–and while enjoyable, does it give us the same benefits that physically reading can?

A recent study this month in the Journal of Neuroscience used functional MRI to look at brain activity in people who were listening to audio books versus reading the books.  Previous neuroimaging has shown that spoken language activates several regions in the cerebral cortex.  This study found that semantic (the relation of letters, words, and language) information from audio input activates the same areas of the cortex that is involved with reading.

This study was one of the first of its kind to reveal that our brains are working in the same way with words and language, regardless of the way we receive information.


  1.  Deniz, Fatma, et al. “The Representation of Semantic Information Across Human Cerebral Cortex During Listening Versus Reading Is Invariant to Stimulus Modality.” Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 39, no. 39, 25 Sept. 2019, pp. 7722–7736., doi:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0675-19.2019.


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