High Schoolers' Worst Nightmare a Powerful Brain Stimulator
> 12/20/2006 10:12:20 AM

Students doth protest reading Shakespeare too much, methinks, as new research from the University of Liverpool has shown that reading works of the Bard produces positive brain activity along the lines of trying to work out an interesting puzzle or magic trick. Using EEG to monitor brain activity, researchers had subjects read from Shakespeare's works. They found that readers reacted to both semantic and grammatic irregularities in the prose and that these reactions displayed a positive interaction with the text.

This probably makes a whole lot of sense to anyone who's fought their way through a Shakespearian work. The plays and sonnets, which many schools and colleges require as part of their curriculum, are not easy reading. The challenge it would seem is well worth the time, however. As with many things, greater understanding comes with practice, and as this study illustrates, training your brain to parcell through Shakespeare's linguistically challenging prose has many benefits. So if you're still looking for some last minute holiday gift ideas, especially for that technology loving teenager on your list, consider some reading by the world's most revered playwrite. They might not shriek with delight now, but they'll thank you down the road.

We'll leave you with a favorite Shakespeare quote of ours, which comes from Act II of Hamlet. We're taking it out of context here, but it's a little more cheerful this way.

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!

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