Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy

>>Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy

Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy

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Pixabay Images


The types of books we read may affect how we relate to others

How important is reading fiction in socialising school children? Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.

Emanuele Castano, a social psychologist, along with PhD candidate David Kidd conducted five studies in which they divided a varying number of participants (ranging from 86 to 356) and gave them different reading assignments: excerpts from genre (or popular) fiction, literary fiction, nonfiction or nothing. After they finished the excerpts the participants took a test that measured their ability to infer and understand other people’s thoughts and emotions. The researchers found, to their surprise, a significant difference between the literary- and genre-fiction readers.

– Julianne Chiaet

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Generation Next is a social enterprise providing education and information to protect and enhance the mental health of young people.

One Comment

  1. Brendan Cookson November 21, 2016 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I agree, and I think this is not surprising – our ancestry and the universal tradition of story-telling has our brains hard-wired into being receptive and interpreting stories. However, with the demise of values and guidance we see children as young as 7 being exposed to violence through video/DVD and games that are ‘classified’ by the censor as being MA or R rated. The sexualisation of youth, through music videos, the pouting porn shot selfie, are all contributing to our dysfunctional society. In short, whether we, as good parents make those decisions or not, our children are exposed via their peers, to increasing levels of inappropriate violence and sexual maturity beyond their years.

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