At one point or another, most of us have found ourselves really absorbed in a fictional story—almost as if real life falls away for a time. And often, we find ourselves closely identifying with one of the characters. When we do, it’s reflected in our brains. A new imaging study conducted on Game of Thrones fans showed that one area of the brain that is active when people think about themselves (called the ventral medial prefrontal cortex) is also activated when thinking of a character they identify with, helping to explain how we lose ourselves in fiction.

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