LivingThis is how literature and poetry work on the...

This is how literature and poetry work on the brain

Thunderous silence, undead, sweet bitterness, white night or beautiful monster are examples of oxymoron , a combination of two words of opposite meaning that when joined create a new meaning. A Spanish study published in the journal NeuroImage revealed that these literary figures generate intense activity in the left frontal area of the brain.

According to the authors of the study, from the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastián, politicians in their speeches, generals in their harangues and lovers in their poems have always used certain rhetorical figures to convince, instill courage or seduce. What had not been achieved until now was to empirically measure the ability of a literary figure to generate brain activity in people.


“Our research demonstrates the rhetorical success of literary figures, and the reason for their effectiveness is thatattract the attention of the listener“More than other expressions, explains Nicola Molinaro, lead author of the study. Specifically,” the frontal part of the brain is activated and more resources are used than usual in processing this expression at the cerebral level. “The researcher points out that the result of the experiments are related “to the activity that requires processing the abstraction of rhetorical figures such as oxymorons, which try to communicate things that do not exist.

For the experiments, Molinaro and his colleagues created several lists of incorrect, neutral, oxymoron, and pleonasms (unnecessary words that add expressiveness), using the same noun as the subject: the word “monster.” Specifically, researchers have used “geographic monster” as an incorrect expression, “lonely monster” as a neutral expression, “beautiful monster” as an oxymoron, and “horrible monster” as a pleonasm. These lists were then shown to people between the ages of 18 and 25, and their brain activity was measured when they processed them using theelectroencefalograma.

The results show thatthe less natural the expression, the more resources it requires to be processed in the front left part of the brain. The neutral phrase “lonely monster” is the one that requires the least brain resources to process. As for the incorrect expression “geographic monster”, 400 milliseconds after perceiving it, the brain reacts when it detects that there is an error. However, in the case of oxymorons, such as “beautiful monster”, 500 milliseconds after perceiving the expression intense brain activity was measured in the left front part of the brain, an area closely related to language that humans have highly developed compared to other species.

The brain works like a quantum computer

New research from Trinity College Dublin concludes that certain brain functions 'must be quantum'.

They grow human cells in the laboratory capable of playing Pong

These 'mini-brains' (biological chips) could teach us a lot about

They discover an unknown function of the cerebellum

This part of the brain that regulates movement also plays a crucial role in our emotional memory, a new study concludes.

This is how an hour of walking through nature influences your brain

After a 60-minute walk in nature, activity in brain regions involved in stress processing decreases, a new study concludes.