Vampire books like 'Twilight' may be affecting teens' minds

Washington, Sep 19 (ANI): In some unfamiliar ways, vampire books like 'Twilight' may be altering the teenage mind, scientists have revealed.

"We don't know exactly how literature affects the brain, but we know that it does," Live Science quoted Maria Nikolajeva of Cambridge University as saying.

"Some new findings have identified spots in the brain that respond to literature and art," she said.

Previously, scientists, authors and educators met in Cambridge for a conference organized by Nikolajeva to discuss how young-adult books and movies affect teenagers' minds.

"For young people, everything is so strange, and you cannot really say why you react to things - it's a difficult period to be a human being," said Nikolajeva.

The conference brought together "people from different disciplines to share what we know about this turbulent period we call adolescence," she said.

"What we have learned over the past decade is that the teenage brain processes information differently than a more mature brain," said conference presenter Karen Coats.

"Brain imaging shows that teens are more likely to respond to situations emotionally, and they are less likely to consider consequences through rational forethought," said Coats.

Linguistic anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University said by e-mail: "What neuroscience opens for us is what happens within the brain during specific activities that take place within identifiable emotional or motivational states."

Nikolajeva said: "If you look very, very clearly at what kind of values the 'Twilight' books propagate, these are very conservative values that do not in any way endorse independent thinking or personal development or a woman's position as an independent creature. That's quite depressing."

Nikolajeva argued that authors have a moral responsibility to include some positivity and hope in works aimed at teens.

"If young people read books where there is no hope at all, it's really damaging. We need to be aware of young people being influenced by what they read or watch, the games they play. It all plays a very important role," she added. (ANI)

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