self superfrontal gyrus activity in a book
I think it would be useful. But at the same time, I realize that the results would hardly be conclusive, since so much goes on in the brain when reading; fMRI results would be messy, and it's not like there's a single measurable moment of electrical impulse that defines literary reading. It's probably more effective to break it up. So I find it pretty interesting that according to this article, data imply that there is a substantive change in brain functioning associated with the sense of "losing yourself" in a task (or in a book?). From New Scientist, which you may have noticed is one of my favorite sources:
Goldberg found that when the sensory stimulus was shown slowly, and when a personal emotional response was required, the volunteers showed activity in the superfrontal gyrus – the brain region associated with self-awareness-related function.It's far from a conclusive experiment, since they seem to have collected data from only nine participants, and fMRI data really are a lot muddier than they're often presented. But it's an interesting implication, and perhaps a first step towards a quantifiable criterion for "great" (or at least engrossing) writing.
But when the card flipping and musical sequences were rapid, there was no activity in the superfrontal gyrus, despite activity in the sensory cortex and related structures.
"The regions of the brain involved in introspection and sensory perception are completely segregated, although well connected,” says Goldberg, “and when the brain needs to divert all its resources to carry out a difficult task, the self-related cortex is inhibited."