What happens in your brain when you 'lose yourself' in ficti
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Researchers found that the more immersed people tend to get into "becoming" a fictional character, the more they use the same part of the brain to think about the character as they do to think about themselves.

During narrative experiences, identification with a fictional character can alter one’s attitudes and self-beliefs to be more similar to those of the character. The ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) is a brain region that shows increased activity when introspecting about the self but also when thinking of close friends.

Researchers test whether identification with fictional characters is associated with increased neural overlap between self and fictional others.

Nineteen fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones performed trait evaluations for the self, 9 real-world friends, and 9 fictional characters during functional neuroimaging.

--Overall, the participants showed a larger response in the vMPFC for self compared to friends and fictional others.

--However, among the participants higher in trait identification, researchers observed a greater neural overlap in the vMPFC between self and fictional characters.

--Moreover, the magnitude of this association was greater for the character that participants reported feeling closest to/liked the most as compared to those they felt least close to/liked the least.

These results suggest that identification with fictional characters leads people to incorporate these characters into their self-concept: the greater the immersion into experiences of ‘becoming’ characters, the more accessing knowledge about characters resembles accessing knowledge about the self.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Source: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsab021
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