Some of the studies researchers spend money on are dubious at best, but this is one that I found interesting and possibly beneficial. Stanford University conducted a study on brain patterns and blood flow using an MRI while test subjects read Jane Austen! Here is an excerpt from the article on Stanford University News–
During a series of ongoing experiments, functional magnetic resonance images track blood flow in the brains of subjects as they read excerpts of a Jane Austen novel. Experiment participants are first asked to leisurely skim a passage as they might do in a bookstore, and then to read more closely, as they would while studying for an exam.
Phillips said the global increase in blood flow during close reading suggests that “paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.” Blood flow also increased during pleasure reading, but in different areas of the brain. Phillips suggested that each style of reading may create distinct patterns in the brain that are “far more complex than just work and play.”
The full article can be read at this link: