Reading is Ooh! Aaaah! Soooo Zzzzzz!April 7, 2009
The story went around the world. The results were published in The Daily Telegraph (UK) and The Age (A2 4/4/09) among others. The research was carried out on a group of volunteers by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex. Having worked up a sweat volunteers were then asked to relax in various ways. The study conducted by Dr David Lewis concluded: Reading reduced stress levels by 68 per cent, listening to music by 61 per cent, having a cup of tea or coffee by 54 per cent, taking a stroll by 42 per cent and playing video games by 21 per cent.
Why is mathspig complaining?
STRESS??? I’LL GIVE YOU STRESS!!!! Most people think of ‘Stress’ as the physical symptoms brought on by anxiety and pressure. This type of stress is difficult to measure. You might fill in a questionnaire (‘Did your dog die?) which gives you a point score. Reducing this type of stress by 68% would be amazing! All your problems would be over. Doctors around the world would be leaping with joy. All they’d have to do to help their patients deal with stress is tell them to get two Dostoyevsky’s and a good lie down. Or even better doctors could tell their stressed patients to simply make themselves a nice cup of tea.
This study refers to the other kind of stress. Physical stress. Get physical then relax and measure the change in pulse and other things. Maybe. I can’t be sure.
SHOW ME THE NUMBERS, BUDDY! I couldn’t find the study in a known scientific journal to test research methodology. I e-mailed Mindlab with no response. Here’s the problem. If you get huffy-puffy physical then just flop in a chair and do nothing your ‘stress’ levels as measured by heart rate will improve anyway. You don’t need a book, music, etc. Heart rate dropping by 68%. Yeah! Happens all the time. Why read a book? Just sit there looking stupid; it will probably work just as well.
FLUSH FACTOR. This study deserves to be flushed down the toilet because of the small print. It was commissioned by Galaxy Chocolates who ‘surprise, surprise’ are sponsors of the Galaxy British Book Awards 2009. Until the methodology used in this study is made available to the public, it’s not worth a crumpet.