We all know that reading a novel can transport you, delight you and intrigue you while you’re reading it. Now, thanks research by scientists at Emory University, we know that immersing yourself in a novel causes measurable physical changes in the brain that can be detected up to five days after the reader closes the book.
The Emory researchers, in a paper for the journal Brain Connectivity, compared the effect to “muscle memory.”
"The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," neuroscientist Gregory Berns said, according to a report in the journal Science Codex. "We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else's shoes in a figurative sense. Now we're seeing that something may also be happening biologically."
Read more here.
And by the way, the essay "Property and markets in Elmer Kelton novels" (Public Choice, 2014), is great.