Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, people are prone to subconsciously adopt their behavior, thoughts, beliefs and internal responses to that of fictional characters as if they were their own.
That people are vulnerable in the face of a story is not very surprising. Research such as this often only serves to state the obvious. But the real cool thing comes in a bit later.
In an experiment which required participants to read in front of a mirror, researchers reported that fewer readers were able to undergo ‘experience-taking’ because they were constantly reminded of their own self-concept and self-identity.
Researchers said that ‘experience-taking’ can only happen when readers are able to in a way forget about themselves and their own self-concept and self-identity when reading.
“The more you’re reminded of your own personal identity, the less likely you’ll be able to take on a character’s identity,” Kaufman said in a news release. “You have to be able to take yourself out of the picture, and really lose yourself in the book in order to have this authentic experience of taking on a character’s identity.”
Dissociative Amnesia (formerly Psychogenic Amnesia)
A. The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
B. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or Somatization Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a neurological or other general medical condition (e.g., Amnestic Disorder Due to Head Trauma).
C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Oh, if only I could afford this many books.
Phrenological Skull circa 19th Century
“Phrenology, the nineteenth-century pseudoscience, held that the bumps on our heads reflect the underlying shape of our brains. It divided regions of the skull into distinct areas thought to sit above specialized brain “organs”, which in turn controlled specific aspects of one’s personality. Despite its many flaws, the theory ushered in the modern view that different areas of the brain govern different behaviors.”
Oh, well. Today is going to be a long day of work.