Reading novels may help encourage empathy

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    It has been previously assumed that reading fiction is good for your mental health, but reading novels could encourage empathy by helping people form ideas about others' emotions, suggests new research.
    Keith Oatley, a Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development in Canada, argues that reading or watching narratives may encourage empathy.
    He said that by exploring the inner lives of characters on the page, readers can form ideas about others' emotions, motives, and ideas, off the page.
    The researchers found that reading narrative fiction gave rise to "significantly higher" scores than did reading non-fiction books. The association remained significant even after personality and individual differences were taken into account.
    Prof Oatley said similar empathy-boosting effects have been found when participants watched fictional TV drama The West Wing, or played a video game with a narrative storyline.

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