Listening to an audiobook feels like cheating, sometimes—easier, if not quicker, than delving into some text. But how do our brains interpret words in audio form, compared to text form?

Image courtesy of Getty Images and Better Homes & Gardens
Getty Images, via Better Homes & Gardens

Audiobooks have an advantage that regular books—whether in ebook or paper form—don’t. You can drive, wash dishes, exercise, or go for a walk while listening to an audiobook, while all of those tasks can be pretty tricky while keeping your eyes glued to a page. But how are our brains interpreting those audio versions? Are we really ingesting stories to the fullest extent when we’re just listening?

A new study from the Gallant Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, sought to answer that question. The researchers had nine subjects either read or listen to the audio versions of stories—in this case, a few episodes of The Moth, a series of real-life stories presented both in text and as a radio or podcast show

Audiobooks have an advantage that regular books—whether in ebook or paper form—don’t. You can drive, wash dishes, exercise, or go for a walk while listening to an audiobook, while all of those tasks can be pretty tricky while keeping your eyes glued to a page. But how are our brains interpreting those audio versions? Are we really ingesting stories to the fullest extent when we’re just listening?

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A new study from the Gallant Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, sought to answer that question. The researchers had nine subjects either read or listen to the audio versions of stories—in this case, a few episodes of The Moth, a series of real-life stories presented both in text and as a radio or podcast show

This story originally appeared on Better Homes & Gardens

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