Your brain on TV. Is it really that bad? Turns out…no. It isn’t.

Image Credit: Joy Hirsch

Image Credit: Joy Hirsch

What does watching TV do to your brain?

The Connectivist published a story that helps you win the argument that watching TV does not mean you’re doing “nothing.”

Joy Hirsch, the Director of fMRI Research at Columbia University Medical Center says that scans of the brain show that when you watch your TV that brain is certainly not being inactive.

Through Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machines the blood flow to your brain can be watched as you…well, are watching something! And of an example brain that was scanned, Hirsch says, “Every possible visual area is just going nuts.”

Some of Hirsch’s fMRI produced ‘brain slices’ Image Credit: Joy Hirsch

Here are some  fMRI brain “slice” images in action.
Image Credit: Joy Hirsch

Specifically, the right hemisphere (visual area) gets busy. This is what helps you follow storylines and emotionally connect with say, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), of The Big Bang Theory.

Blood flow to your short term memory areas are also active when you watch TV. Hirsch summed it up nicely by saying, “I like to think of it as the visual narrative.”

So, fellow TV watchers. What does this mean? It means that you don’t need to feel lazy when you sit in front of the TV.

Your brain is at work.

Source: Why TV Activates Your Brain