How Reading Affects Your Brain and Behavior

Sunday, October 23rd, 5:00 pm | mp3 | powerpoint
Patricia Greenfield, Professor of Psychology, UCLA

On the cognitive side, there is evidence that reading leads to reflective thought and enhances critical thinking. In terms of the brain, reading boosts the organization of the visual cortex and a brain region specialized for phonological processing. But reading also has its costs: on the social side, reading has functioned as an isolating medium because one needs to be in a quiet environment in order to read. In terms of the brain, reading reduces brain activation in response to faces. Like any medium, reading has its costs and benefits - for both brain and behavior.

PATRICIA GREENFIELD received her Ph. D. from Harvard University and is currently Professor of Psychology at UCLA, where she is a member of the developmental psychology group. Her central theoretical and research interest is in the relationship between culture and human development. She is a past recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Behavioral Science Research, and has received teaching awards from UCLA and the American Psychological Association. Her books include Mind and Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers (Harvard, 1984), Interacting with Video (Elsevier, 1996) and Cross-Cultural Roots of Minority Child Development (Erlbaum, 1994), both co-edited with R.R. Cocking, and Weaving Generations Together: Evolving Creativity in the Maya of Chiapas (SAR Press, 2004). She has done field research on child development and socialization in Chiapas, Mexico since 1969; heads the Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles; has investigated how cultural values influence relationships on multiethnic high school sports teams; and is engaged in a cross-cultural teacher-training project called, "Bridging Cultures." In 2010, she won the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. She was founding Director of the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development.


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