--- 40k Books
Read an excerpt here.
"MIT graduate student and neuroscientist Livia Blackburne penned the fantastic essay From Words to Brain (Can neuroscience teach you to be a better writer?), which uses the children’s classic “Little Red Riding Hood” to investigate the complex neural connections that take place while we read. Like the TEDBooks series, Blackburne’s piece contains big ideas in a compact, engaging, and accessible package."
--Kirsten Butler for Brainpickings
"I love psychology but am sometimes put off by how technical the science papers can get. Livia manages to cram psychological explanations into an easy to read essay that 'lay' readers can enjoy as well as those more scientifically minded. The up to date studies on how the brain interprets words are fascinating and I learned a lot from this fast read. Is Livia Blackburne the next pop science publishing phenomenon?!"
-- Joanna Penn, Author
The essay is so well written that it reads like a piece of fiction. Blackburne manages to make an essay full of scientific information flow like an informal essay, which allows readers not familiar with neuroscience to grasp the results of complex studies without being faced with wading through dry material. Part of that accessibility is that she focuses specifically on the story "Little Red Riding Hood" and presents pieces of the well-known tale throughout the essay to demonstrate her points to readers. Her passion also shines through in her words in statements like these: "we'll explore just what it is that transforms a page full of words to an experience with the power to move us and leave us changed;" "you might say that a story is like a film reel, and the brain projects it into our imaginations;" and "some stories find resonance, spreading from reader to reader and setting in action changes that affect the world."
Anyone who has ever been touched by a written story should read this essay: It is a love letter to the writing and reading processes worthy of being read "just for fun" or for research. Livia Blackburne has a gift for writing, and her writing is a source for new ways of thinking about the art of writing and how it is, indeed, a process that affects the brain as well as the soul."
-- Jessie Sams, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Stephen F. Austin State University
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