Books Can Control Your Mind as Powerfully as Television

Usually, books are presented as an antidote to a TV-controlled populace. But now a new neuroscience study reveals that books control people’s minds and emotions in exactly the same way television does.

A group of researchers In The U.S. and the Netherlands peered into people’s brains using fMRI machines while those people were doing a series of three tasks: reading about something disgusting, watching images of something disgusting, and actually tasting something disgusting.

We found voxels in the anterior Insula and adjacent frontal operculum to be involved in all three modalities of disgust, suggesting that simulation in the context of social perception and mental imagery of disgust share a common neural substrates. Using effective connectivity, this shared region however was found to be embedded in distinct functional circuits during the three modalities, suggesting why observing, imagining and experiencing an emotion feels so different.