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How Does the Act of Writing Affect Your Brain?

How Does the Act of Writing Affect Your Brain

One of the most interesting details shared in the graphic above is the information about the Princeton University Study which demonstrated that the brain of a person telling a story and the brain a person listening to it can synchronise. The academic paper published by the researchers can be read on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website. The link that is possible between a storyteller and their audience, what the paper describes as ‘speaker–listener neural coupling’, can be clearly seen in this image.

neural coupling 3

More fascinating research on storytelling and the brain has been conducted at Emory University. A study published in February 2012 found that a region of the brain important for sensing texture through touch, the parietal operculum, is also activated when someone listens to a sentence with a textural metaphor. The same region is not activated when a similar sentence expressing the meaning of the metaphor is heard. As Annie Murphy Paul explained her fantastic March 2012 essay Your Brain on Fiction, “while metaphors like ‘The singer had a velvet voice’ and ‘He had leathery hands’ roused the sensory cortex, phrases matched for meaning, like ‘The singer had a pleasing voice’ and ‘He had strong hands’ did not.”

Infographic source:




  1. 24 April 2013 / 5:23 am

    This is spectacular information not only for me as a writer and but also as a teacher. Thanks for this!!

  2. 24 April 2013 / 7:29 am

    Oh I love this, thank you! Is it possible to get a copy of the image somewhere? I’d love to print it out and frame it!

    • 28 April 2013 / 6:00 pm

      Glad you like it. This is the only version we have. You could try contacting the source –

  3. Frank Green
    16 June 2013 / 5:37 am

    Aristotle said that the apt metaphor because it denotes a swift perception of Relation is a mark of genius [imagination]. He added that metaphor was the hardest thing to teach.
    Metaphor starts with the meaning of most words, extends to a phrase, and shows up as the unity of a story itself.

  4. Zeb Smith
    21 June 2013 / 12:55 am

    I want to have that graphic made into a poster, but I don’t want to violate copyright laws. Who owns the rights to it? I tried to find it via the source information given at the end of the article, but was unsuccessful. Thank you.

  5. 13 December 2014 / 8:57 am

    Emory University is spelled wrong in the article.

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