To most bookworms, reading a physical book is the ultimate form of learning, immersion, and experience. Some go as far as suggesting that listening to an audiobook is “cheating.” Despite this cultural belief, new research offers evidence that our brains react the same way when listening to an audiobook and reading. A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience highlighted work done at UC Berkeley that mapped the brain activity of nine participants while they read and listened from “The Moth Radio Hour.” Once the subjects’ brain activity was mapped, researchers discovered that the stories stimulated the same emotional and cognitive areas, regardless of their medium. Future studies aim to expand the range of languages tested as well as test subjects who have dyslexia or auditory processing difficulties. The potential of this work is positive, particularly for those with dyslexia, suggesting that people who struggle to read can have the exact same experiences using audiobooks instead of struggling through conventional means of reading.

Learn more about this study here.