A Theater Of The Brain

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 19 2011 @ 8:21am

Philip Davis is studying how Shakespeare's creativity with words affects your brain. Shakespeare often changed the parts of speech so that phrases like "thick my blood" and "the cruellest she alive" keep us engaged:

As Davis's experiments have shown, instead of rejecting these "syntactic violations," the brain accepts them, and is excited by the "grammatical oddities" it is experiencing. …

For Davis, we need creative language "to keep the brain alive." He points out that so much of our language today, written in bullet points or simple sentences, fall into predictability. "You can often tell what someone is going to say before they finish their sentence" he says. "This represents a gradual deadening of the brain."