Reading for pleasure strengthens memory in older adults

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The group that read books for eight weeks showed significant improvements to working memory and episodic memory. Photo: Pexels


(Melinh Lai/ Medical Xpress) — Baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, but in rankings of the most popular hobbies, reading is more consistently ranked highly. It’s not hard to see why: reading is simultaneously engaging and relaxing, and it’s fun to do alone and with friends.

A team of researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology have uncovered yet another reason to love reading: it may help preserve memory skills as people—and their brains—grow older. Their work is reported in Frontiers in Psychology.

“Leisure reading, the kind that really sucks you in, is good for you, and it helps build the mental abilities on which reading depends,” said Beckman researcher Liz Stine-Morrow, who is also the director of the Adult Learning Lab, a faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology, and the study’s senior investigator. (…)

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