Lisa Kucera (via NPR) Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
Your ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.
That's the conclusion of a study in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.
On average, people who read parts of more literary books like The Round House by Louise Erdrich did better on those tests than people who read either nothing, read nonfiction or read best-selling popular thrillers like The Sins of the Mother by Danielle Steel.
For example, folks who were assigned to read highbrow literary works did better on a test called "Reading the Mind in the Eyes," which required them to look at black-and-white photographs of actors' eyes and decide what emotion the actors were expressing.
This is the first time scientists have demonstrated the short-term effects of reading on people's social abilities, says Raymond Mar, a psychology researcher at York University in Toronto. He has investigated the effects of reading in the past but did not work on this study.
"I think it's a really interesting paper," says Mar. "It seems to be largely consistent with this growing body of work showing that what we read and our exposure to narrative has a very interesting impact on our social abilities and our ability to understand what other people are thinking and feeling."
People who read book excerpts by National Book Award finalists like Louise Erdrich did better on social perception tests.Harper Collins
The scientists who did the study admit that it's hard to precisely define "literary" fiction, but say there is some consensus on how it differs from "popular fiction."
Popular fiction tends to be focused on plot, says Emanuele Castano, professor of psychology at The New School for Social Research in New York, and the characters are rather stereotypical. "You open a book of what we call popular fiction and you know from the get-go who is going to be the good guy and the bad guy."
Literary fiction, in contrast, focuses on the psychology and inner life of the characters, he says. And importantly, characters in literary fiction are left somewhat incomplete. Readers have to watch what they do and infer what they are thinking and feeling.
"This is really the very same processes that we engage in when we try to guess other people's thoughts and feelings and emotions, and to read their mind in everyday life," says Castano.
Castano says he doesn't want people to think this study is a criticism of popular fiction, because there are lots of good reasons to read that, too. "But it's unlikely that it's going to train you to read other people's minds."
This study could be a first step toward a better understanding of how the arts influence how we think, says David Comer Kidd, a graduate student who coauthored the study with Castano.
"We're having a lot of debates right now about the value of the arts, the value of the humanities," Kidd says. "Municipalities are facing budget cuts and there are questions about why are we supporting these libraries. And one thing that's noticeably absent from a lot of these debates is empirical evidence."
Shared Link: "Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction" via NPR (Sent in by Lisa Kucera)
All Categories: Shared Link
All Categories: Shared Link
Leave a CommentDisqus Method (below): No Login Required. SKIP Password field and click "I'd rather post as a guest." How?
While expressing your opinions through our blog's commenting system, please observe our strict guidelines:
Hateful comments (with or without profanity) will not be published. Solely negative comments that contain no constructive message whatsoever will not be published.
Comments that serve as a promotional addendum for a business or organization (for example: plugs or promotes a special, coupon, service, product or sales event) will not be published, as this is paid information. Exceptions include 'Recommendations Needed' posts. Businesses are asked not to promote their own business through our commenting system.
Comments which contain promotional, time-sensitive information such as event specifics will not be published, as this is paid information. Please see our Submit a Listing page for information on how to submit events.
Please select your words carefully. Once comments have been submitted to the WWN commenting system and/or published, it may not be possible to delete or remove comments.
Comments should be no more than 2,000 characters in length.
It is generally recommended not to name individuals in your comments or isolate them in your pictures in a negative way, who have not given you permission to do so.
Please Comment on the Correct Thread (Post): To help folks find your comment and respond, please be sure you are staying on topic on the correct corresponding post/article. For example, one wouldn't comment about an up and coming election on a help wanted listing. Off topic comments will be removed to avoid confusion.
The WWN does not guarantee that all comments will be archived indefinitely.
The WWN reserves the right to have final discretion regarding the publishing of any and all comments.
(Last Update to Comment Policy: June 20, 2016.)
Currently Trending in the Network
The Rockport Police Department is asking for help in identifying two individuals seen in the attached photographs. Both subjects used...
Nellie Katherine Symm-Gruender, 65, of Rockport, Texas and Columbia, Missouri passed away April 19, 2017 after fighting a 4-month battle w...
Click the text below to view full screen on mobile.
Wings Rescue Center with porch under construction Wings Rescue Center needs donations of small bird cages or small animal cages (such as...
Library Director Iris Sanchez with check The Aransas County Public Library was one of 43 public libraries that received a grant from the...
Roving Reporter | "Photos: RCA, Rockport Tour of Homes Kickoff Party 2017" | Photos by Veronika CamehlThank you to everyone who came to the Kickoff Party 2017 and the Rockport Tour of Homes, which supports year-round events, exhibitions an...
"Hi Kayla, What do you think about smoothies? Do you think they make good meal replacements?" Thank you, Smitten with Smo...
901 East Main Street Rockport, TX 78382 (361)729-0633 Hours: Tues-Fri 9-5pm, Closed Mon, Sat and Sun www.AccessCounseling.org A...