Reading fiction doesn't boost social skills as thought

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    When a 2013 study published in Science concluded that reading literary fiction for as few as 20 minutes could improve someone's social abilities, it made quite the splash. However, when researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Pace University, Boston College and the University of Oklahoma tried to replicate the findings using the original study materials and methodology, the results didn't hold up.
    Results show that reading a short piece of literary fiction does not seem to boost theory of mind. In fact, literary fiction did not do any better than popular fiction, expository non-fiction and not any better than reading nothing at all.
    ajanta likes this.
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    But it does in other ways:

    Weisberg doesn't discount the idea that exposure to fiction could positively affect a person's social cognition. In fact, she and her collaborators additionally administered the Author Recognition Test, which measures lifetime exposure to all genres of fiction: From a list of 130 names -- some real authors, some foils -- participants were asked to select all real writers they knew with certainty. They were penalized for guessing and for incorrect answers. The researchers then tested for relations between this measure and social cognition, once again using the RMET, which offers an image of eyes and asks participants to choose the best description of the emotion the eyes convey.

    In this case, they noted a strong relationship: The more authors participants knew, the better they scored on the social cognition measure.

    Which is the exact opposite of the headline. And it may do more for autistic people, who need coaching in this area.
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