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She said one of the primary goals of the research is to investigate the value of studying literature. Beyond producing good writers and thinkers, she is interested in "how this training engages the brain. The researchers found that blood flow in the brain increases during such leisurely reading, but in different areas of the brain than when the subjects read the novel more closely.

Pioneering in a number of respects, her research is "one of the first fMRI experiments to study how our brains respond to literature," Phillips said, as well as the first to consider "how cognition is shaped not just by what we read, but how we read it.

This is your brain on Jane Austen, and researchers at Stanford are taking notes

Critical reading of humanities-oriented texts is recognized for fostering analytical thought, but if such results hold across subjects, Phillips said it would suggest "it's not only what we read — but thinking rigorously about it that's of value, and that literary study provides a truly valuable exercise of people's brains. Though modern life's cascade of beeps and buzzes certainly prompts a new kind of distraction, Phillips warned against "adopting a kind of historical nostalgia, or assuming those of the 18th century were less distracted than we are today.

Rather than seeing the change from the 18th century to today as a historical progression toward increasing distraction, Phillips likes to think of attention in terms of "changing environmental, cultural and cognitive contexts: what someone's used to, what they're trying to pay attention to, where, how, when, for how long, etc.

Ironically, the project was born out of a moment of distraction.

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While sitting on a discussion panel which happened to be one of the first on cognitive approaches to literature , Phillips found herself distracted from the talk by the audience's varieties of inattention: "One man was chatting to his neighbor; another person was editing their talk; one guy was looking vaguely out the window; a final had fallen asleep. The talk inspired Phillips to consider connections between her traditional study of 18th-century literature and a neuroscientific approach to literary analysis.

Phillips was especially intrigued by the concept of cognitive flexibility, which she defines as "the ability to focus deeply on one's disciplinary specialty, while also having the capacity to pay attention to many things at once," such as connections between literature, history of mind, philosophy, neuroscience and so on.

Phillips delved into the project during her time as a Mellon Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center in Samantha Holdsworth, a research scientist specializing in MRI techniques, recalled an early conversation about the project when two scientists were trying to communicate with three literary scholars: "We were all interested, but working at the edge of our capacity just to understand even 10 percent of what each other were saying.

After working through the challenges of disciplinary lingo, the team devised a truly interdisciplinary experiment.

6. Mansfield Park (1814)

Participants read a full chapter from Mansfield Park, which is projected onto a mirror inside an MRI scanner. Together with a verbal cue, color-coding on the text signals participants to move between two styles of attention: reading for pleasure or reading with a heightened attention to literary form. The use of the fMRI allows for a dynamic picture of blood flow in the brain, "basically, where neurons are firing, and when," said Phillips. Eye-tracking compatible with fMRI shows how people's eyes move as they read.

As Phillips explained, the micro-jumps of the eyes "can be aligned with the temporal blood flow to different regions in the brain. When participants are done with a chapter, they leave the scanner and write a short literary essay on the sections they analyzed closely. The test subjects, all literary PhD candidates from the Bay Area, were chosen because Phillips felt they could easily alternate between close reading and pleasure reading.

After reviewing early scans, neuroscientist Bob Dougherty, research director of CNI, said he was impressed by "how the right patterns of ink on a page can create vivid mental imagery and instill powerful emotions. The researchers expected to see pleasure centers activating for the relaxed reading and hypothesized that close reading, as a form of heightened attention, would create more neural activity than pleasure reading.

The owners themselves describe how they have created their own hideaways, and author Jane Field-Lewis provides insightful style notes and comments based on he Super-cool spaces to relax, work, chill out, or escape. The owners themselves describe how they have created their own hideaways, and author Jane Field-Lewis provides insightful style notes and comments based on her conversations with owners, architects, and designers.

For the interiors, recycled, vintage and precious items are mixed with new, functional and practical ones. Learn how to create your own shed, and then how to make it stylish as well as useful. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.

Jane Field-Lewis

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This is your brain on Jane Austen, and Stanford researchers are taking notes

A richly illustrated coffee table book that enlivens the boundaries of standard orthodox thought regarding a seemingly mundane structure that serves as storage, work space and home. Feb 19, Nancy rated it really liked it Shelves: books-read-while-eating. Want want. What makes this book work is the variety -- of places, materials, and design.

There are some words that try to talk about the projects, but when I tried to read them I felt compelled to edit in my head.

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    Bice spaces and buildings. I was thinking more on sheds and creating them into more functional space. All different sizes, kind or how to make. Not fully informed. Dane rated it really liked it Jan 28, Amy rated it liked it Dec 31, Mottentochter rated it really liked it May 30, Gerald rated it liked it Jan 17, Pat Mills rated it it was amazing Nov 23, Sarah Wilkinson rated it really liked it Dec 25, Sarah Murphy rated it liked it Apr 01, Cory Reynolds rated it liked it Jul 12, Kelsey Robertson marked it as to-read Apr 20,