Home

Add to Favorites

Does Reading Literary Fiction Make You a Better Person?

Well.... Maybe
Meera Lee

What would life be like if you lacked a Theory of Mind (ToM) ? For one thing, it would be a lot more serious. Take this scene from a British sitcom about an elderly lady who overhears her family discussing an ailing dog—the humor in it relies entirely on the audience’s ability to infer that the woman mistakenly believes they’re talking about her, and to understand how this would make her feel.  Human beings aren’t the only species to possess at least some form of ToM , which some psychologists refer to as “mind-reading”—but we may the only one that can learn to enhance it.

 

A new Science study suggests that reading literature—at least a certain kind—may strengthen the skills that underlie ToM. In the study, David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano—social science researchers at New York City’s New School—conducted a series of experiments using the same basic format. In each, volunteers were randomly assigned either to a group that read a short excerpt the researchers considered emblematic of “literary fiction,” or to a comparison group. For example, participants in the fiction group might read a passage from the Chekhov short story Chameleon, about a hypocritical police inspector whose ideas about justice change and change again, depending on the mood of the crowd surrounding him. At the same time, readers in the comparison group might be given a passage from a fact-based article—something like a Smithsonian magazine piece entitled "How the Potato Changed the World”—a passage from what the researchers considered “popular fiction”—something like a best-selling Danielle Steele novel—or nothing at all.

Next, the groups were tested on both cognitive ToM (the ability to infer others’ beliefs and intentions) and affective ToM (the ability to detect and understand others’ emotions). In the cognitive test, they were asked to predict where a character would look for a violin that they had placed in a particular box, given that a second party had either moved the violin to a different box, or moved the box itself, without telling them. In the affective test, volunteers were assessed on how well they could identify specific emotional states from facial expressions, using photographs that revealed only people’s eyes.

According to Kidd and Castano, those who read literary fiction excerpts had statistically significantly higher scores than comparison groups in tests of affective ToM in all five experiments; they scored higher in test of cognitive ToM in two experiments.

These results, along with those of a similar study by a pair of Dutch social scientists that found a slightly more long-term effect on ToM,  have been widely reported. Often, they’re presented with the message that reading serious literary fiction makes people more empathetic, and by extension, better human beings. But the studies have also been criticized  for treating literature as a kind of medicine for the modern age,  and for cherry-picking excerpts designed to bolster a particular hypothesis. No nonfiction pieces with human subjects were allowed in the New School study, for example, and the Dutch study ensured their nonfiction passages did not have a narrative structure. (We at Being Human certainly think reading nonfiction has the capacity to increase our understanding of each others’ emotional lives; we publish nothing but.)

Still, it makes intuitive sense that reading texts—whatever their genre—that unpack the feelings, motivations, and inner landscapes of characters—whether they’re human or not—could potentially help us to do the same thing in real life. And since so much of human culture, including its sense of humor, relies on our ability to read each others’ minds, I for one won’t complain if you use this study to justify buying me a book this Christmas. 

 

 

photo by paulbence

 

 

frank Wilson
3 years ago

I think reading literary fiction can help you become more sober, knowledgable and sophisticated as you behave nicely to others and be a better person in the society. Coursework Experts

Henry McClean
3 years ago

A pedometer is a great device to use for tracking overall steps you are taking. You should be walking about 10,000 steps each day. If you know how many you are doing on average, you can do more by challenging yourself. Every step you takes gets you in better shape and helps you to lose weight. does the venus factor system really work
 

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Now are you aware of how best to start a beauty routine? Do you have a defined starting point? Do you know how to achieve your desired look? If these questions can now answered, then you understand what the above article is trying to tell you. Therefore, you're prepared to improve your beauty today. zetaclear review

Henry McClean
3 years ago

You will be amazed at how much college will change your life forever, and there is a lot you have to do to prepare for this experience. The following article contains tips you can use when you are going to college. Take in this information and learn from others. where to buy magnetic messaging
 

Dianne Smith
3 years ago


I really love this article! I learned a lot and I also enjoyed this as well. Thank you so much for posting this. <3 It's really interesting, and informative. I'm hoping that you could post more article like this. buy twitter followers
 

angela Powell
3 years ago

You filled the blog with great content. It will surely help me to engage in a brilliant work.

Amazon

 

Joseph Smith
3 years ago

Interesting, but I wonder how they have guarded against confusing cause and correlation examcollection C_TSCM62_65. It might just be that emotionally more EC0-350 vce mature people enjoy literary fiction, and reading in general examcollection GD0-100.

Henry McClean
3 years ago

As you know, college isn't all about partying, no matter what movies might have you to believe. It is vital that you take your studies seriously. College is a time to set your priorities. The advice presented within this article is going to help you accomplish this, so that you can get great grades and still have some fun. the complete tao attraction system

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Have everything you need ready when it is time to test. The professor may not have extra items to lend you, so you have to bring everything with you. what is the tao of badass pdf
 

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Get at least one of your general educational requirements fulfilled in the first semester.If you are aware of a class that you must take in order to graduate, get it over with so you can take classes you like down the line. You don't want to find yourself the lone senior amongst a senior! Text Your Ex Back with Michael Fiore
 

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Stop eating as you are almost full. This can keep you from overeating.
 
Make the most of your caloric allowance by eating healthy foods to fuel your body as you can. Your body is going to respond better to 1800 calories of wholesome foods, such as vegetables, whole grains and protein. The quality of the foods you consume requires as important as portion size. what is penis advantage system

fanSG fanSDG
3 years ago

Michael Kors Handbags UK With 1959, Michael Kors was given birth to throughout cheap michael kors Long Island to a jewish refrain from impression big t-t-shirts along with buckskin jacket. With cheap michael kors the late seventies, shortly fater he began in the style initiate associated with technology (Nyc Michael Kors Uk body. Whenever he / she travelled Michael Kors Handbags UK faraway from at this time there, in Lothar 'utes destination to locate a custom and purchases do the job, where Michael Kors Uk Sale he started in order to hone and high transmission Michael Kors Uk power on the characters, for example singer Diana Ross and he or she Streisand. With this he or she Michael Kors Handbags UK realized what garments is definitely girls would like one of the most cheap michael kors uk In 1981, Bergdorf Goodman found that there is certainly this type of young endowment cheap michael kors then below an order, this is actually the start of "Michael Kors" company. Michael Kors Uk Erika Kors kept a decreased report within the 70 Michael Kors Handbags UK S, although there is several dependable consumers Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Michael Kors clothing types documentation (19), but cheap michael kors he or she did not hop on the throne of which Donna along with Calvin Klein. During the early cheap michael kors uk xc ohydrates, they instantly favorite, his or her small enterprise in to a prominent Michael Kors Uk small business. However their Italian custom made Michael Kors Handbags Outletcareer inside 1993, he ended up being forced to visit bankrupt. Dirt Michael Kors Handbags UK leisure time), breeze brought his manufacturer Michael Kors UK Online tub areas, as well as glow energy source. Usually functional, luxury cheap michael kors uk "Erika Kors" would be the ideal relaxed garments and star topology electrical power within the michael kors uk online 70 ersus using humour spinal fusion, gotten to the hipster fresh http://www.audmed.org.uk/ bill (his / her brand brazen line, like: "the particular Thenar cheap michael kors uk Squawk" as well as "10021" - Madison square zipcode). He's furthermore captivated the French cheap michael kors A person's eye in the luxury products collection. LVMH volition Erina michael kors uk online gotten, permit them to accomplish people well known yet previous Michael Kors Uk as well as Celine outfits. Erina Michael Kors Handbags UK along with Celine was, on the other hand, following a pair of times, the look to the American design and style, and also gestural Michael Kors Handbags Outlet some sort of 5-year long term contract having him or her. LVMH also bought your Michael michael kors uk online business of any finally on the gives. Inwards 2000, the business with Michael Kors Handbags UK Started out his / her flagship store. Cologne "Eileen" is actually released at the same time Authentic Cheap Michael Kors Outlet UK Online Is also this season, he or she gained the CFDA could clothes. Erina coles still left Celine throughout Oct 2003 michael kors uk online along with begun to consentrate on my brand name. His / her males wearing Michael Kors Handbags UK company available on the market throughout 2002. Besides the Jordan Kors string manufacturer mode display http://www.comt.ca/mk.html Erika Kors inside Erika Kors, positiioned in 04, Erika Michael Kors as well as Kors Michael Kors two lieutenant Michael Kors Handbags Canada brand names. KORS Michael KORS pertaining to mode demonstrate in order Michael Kors Canada involving the collection and also Michael Eileen KORS sequence. MICHAEL compilation of http://www.trirudy.com/mk3.cfm products including women's clutches, shoes, as well as clothes michael kors canada serial. Your KORS merchandise is place as well as denim jeans. Presently michael kors handbags canada Michael Kors provides inside New york, Beverly hillsides, Las Vegas, New mexico, Atl, charlotte now, Hillcrest, rib table Michael Kors Canada open a shop. Eileen very own Michael kors canada manufacturer shows this United states form of leisure. Then he with regard to Celine plus the michael kors handbags canada romance between the sword is how to find out? "They can come up with a Michael Kors Online difference. I'm a typical Us stylus, merely Celine noble gorgeous, internationalization, for example their widespread a silk filled duvet, chiffon, leather-based http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/mk.aspx most of these costly fancy materials. Joined with your either side from the personality, with a passionate luxury. Celine I do new clothes, for women who live shown view of lifetime, can be quite childish 

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Try to find a partner to boost your weight loss. Weight loss is one of those things that seems to go better with a person to do it with.
 
To aid a person trying to lose weight, try not to rely on your car for transportation. Physical transportation, running, can help you burn calories while you get from point a to point b. The day's excess calories you accumulate during a given day are deposited in your body. You can take preventative measures by burning as many calories as you can. how to take garcinia cambogia select

Henry McClean
3 years ago

Allow your hair to air dry naturally as frequently as you can to best protect it from heat damage. The combined heat from the hair dryer, straightening iron, and straightening iron can take a major toll on the hair and scalp. If you must dry your hair, put it on the weakest heat setting. Your hair will remain at its silky soft for many years. does boost your bust really work
 

Harry Smith
3 years ago

Good morning friends... I visit your site first time but i want to say i know i miss very interesting and informative article but now my request is please share with us more post in future...  Stable mats in uk

Harry Smith
3 years ago

This is really nice and intersting  post please share with us more post in future... First i want to say i visit many sides but specially like your log in style and your registration mated is fantastic ... Bundle of thanks...  You can buy online gym matting in uk

Harry Smith
3 years ago

Good morning friends... I visit your site first time but i want to say i know i miss very interesting and informative article but now my request is please share with us more post in future...   Best quality grass mesh in uk buy wholesale rate

Harry Smith
3 years ago

I appreciate your hard working and i also appreciate your desing. You are doing really good job.. I like your psot and i also like your commenting style.. Keep posting...  Gymnastics mat

jhon rox
3 years ago

I agree with you that reading makes a better person.I have got useful information.I will share this post with my friends.

website here

jhon rox
3 years ago

Very nice educational post.Reading helps a person to become a better person.I have bookmarked the website.

londonyellowbricks.co.uk

jhon rox
3 years ago

Great website,you have posted a very nice picture wich i like it a lot.I will visit this website to read more.

website

James Rogla
3 years ago

You have written nice post.  I am gonna bookmark this page, thanks for info. I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.
rubber playground tiles for safety

Harry Smith
3 years ago

Just stumbled across your blog and was instantly amazed with all the useful information that is on it. Great post, just what i was looking for and i am looking forward to reading your other posts soon. You did a great job and thanks for sharing. dvd jackets usa

Harry Smith
3 years ago

This is really nice and intersting  post. Well done! This really helps me to find the answers to my question. Hoping, that you will continue posting articles having lots of useful information. Thanks a lot for providing us that great blog with great information. sticker printing

Harry Smith
3 years ago

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Order online die cut stickers

Anderson james
3 years ago

I was very impressed by this post, this site has always been pleasant news Thank you very much for such an interesting post...  Fine quality industrial floor tiles available in industrialmatsuk.co.uk

Anderson james
3 years ago

Amazing web journal. I appreciated perusing your articles. This is really an extraordinary read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am anticipating perusing new articles.  non slip decking avaialble in UK only safetyflooringco.co.uk

naveen k
3 years ago

Human guys, says de Waal, appear to have gotten to be uncomfortable with participating in obvious strategic maneuvers. Yet on the most fundamental level, they're the same as their primate relatives. Take the way Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein depict Richard Nixon's post-Watergate wails and yells in their book The Final Days, he composes. There is a route in which Nixon's despondency can be seen as rather primal. 

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

happy valentines day 2015

 

Mary Fernando
3 years ago

I think about how they have prepared for befuddling reason and connection. It may very well be that candidly more develop individuals appreciate artistic fiction, and purchase custom assignment by buyassignment.net  perusing all in all.