Vad händer i hjärnan när vi läser poesi?

Publicerat Blänkare

En grupp forskare vid Max Planck-institutet i Frankfurt har studerat vad som händer i hjärnan när vi blir starkt berörda av att läsa poesi. De publicerade nyligen sina resultat i artikeln ”The emotional power of poetry: neural circuitry, psychophysiology, compositional principles”. Två av artikelförfattarna är Stefan Koelsch, som föreläste på Karolinska Institutet i november 2016, som en del av Den kulturella hjärnans föreläsningsprogram, och Winifred Menninghaus, som deltog i symposiet Brain and Culture i mars 2016.

Artikeln kan läsas gratis här.

It is a common experience—and well established experimentally—that music can engage us emotionally in a compelling manner. The mechanisms underlying these experiences are receiving increasing scrutiny. However, the extent to which other domains of aesthetic experience can similarly elicit strong emotions is unknown. Using psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and behavioral responses, we show that recited poetry can act as a powerful stimulus for eliciting peak emotional responses, including chills and objectively measurable goosebumps that engage the primary reward circuitry. Importantly, while these responses to poetry are largely analogous to those found our music, their neural underpinnings show important differences, specifically with regard to the crucial role of the nucleus accumbens. We also go beyond replicating previous music-related studies by showing that peak aesthetic pleasure can co-occur with physiological markers of negative affect. Finally, the distribution of chills across the trajectory of poems provides insight into compositional principles of poetry.