Entitled “The Neuroscience of Harry Potter,” this Fast Company story investigates what happens to your brain when you’re truly lost in a book:
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Let’s do a casual experiment. Here’s a brief passage from the first book in some obscure fiction series called Harry Potter:
A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered. … Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood.
And here’s another passage from the final book of the series:
He got up off the floor, stretched and moved across to his desk. Hedwig made no movement as he began to flick through the newspapers, throwing them on to the rubbish pile one by one; the owl was asleep, or else faking; she was angry with Harry about the limited amount of time she was allowed out of her cage at the moment.