Re-reading old books enhances experience

Re-reading your favourite books or re-visiting your favourite holiday spots is actually good — these enhance a person’s experience, says a new study.

Researchers from American University the University of Arizona have shown that many people benefit from rereading familiar stories as the encounter “reignites” their emotions and increases their knowledge.

Similar advantages can be gained from revisiting old haunts such as a favourite beach abroad or a particular church or monument, according to the study.

“Even though people are already familiar with the stories or the places, re-consuming brings new or renewed appreciation of both the object of consumption and their self. Especially prone to re-consumption are hedonic experiences, sought for their rich emotional, cognitive, and sensorial responses.

“People should not hesitate to go back and re-read or re-view what they have already done. A once in a lifetime experience can easily appeal to people again,” the researchers were quoted by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ as saying.

They have based their findings on an analysis of a survey of a group of people from the US and New Zealand, who were asked about the pleasure gained from the “rereading of books, re-watching of movies, and revisiting of geographical places”.

The findings revealed that the subjects were generally keen to return to a well-thumbed book or to listen again to a favourite piece of music so they could gain a “richer and deeper insight” of the experience and increase understanding. Some participants hoped to evoke previous memories brought on by the “re-consumption” or even affirm the impression left by an earlier experience. Others still, sought to share a favourite encounter with new people.

For millennia, people have had books they can read again. The re-experience allows them not only to refresh their memory of the past experience but the recollection is accompanied by discovery of new details.

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