Good Reads

Fiction Readers Have More Empathy




The love of books may begin at any age, but for most, it starts in childhood. Now, scientists are studying the effects of reading on the brain with MRIs, polls, surveys and experiments. The results indicate that readers of fiction are more empathetic toward others. By engaging with a story, they are temporarily placing themselves in a character’s shoes, thus fostering empathy in real life, and literary reading amplifies this effect.

According to a Stanford University study, reading a challenging book also helps us become smarter, as well as more empathetic. By attempting to tackle harder books, we create new connections in our minds that we might not have done otherwise. Neuroscientist Bob Dougherty remarks, “The right patterns of ink on a page can create vivid mental imagery and instill powerful emotions.”

David Comer Kidd, author of another related study, observes, “Like opening a window to let fresh air into our home, literature opens up our minds to the myriad ideas that we wouldn’t be able to experience on our own. We can pause to analyze the experiences depicted as if they were our own, expanding our experience of the world.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Photography for Beginners—Informal Workshop and Outdoor Shoot

These photo walks include time for participants to learn basic camera functions ranging from aperture and exposure to white balance.

New Tea, Reiki and Tarot Event, Thursdays at Barefoot Acupuncture

People can expect to have a fun time and leave feeling much lighter and more at peace, able to make decisions with greater confidence, or feel more relaxed and clear.

Net Impact’s Annual Conference, NI18: Outside the Lines!

This year’s Net Impact Conference, titled NI18: Outside the Lines!, will be held Thursday, October 25, through Saturday, October 27, at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Herbal Certification Course

Learn about healing the body naturally by attending the SW Herb Shop's Herbal Certification Course.

Friday Bird Walk with Lisa Murphy at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Engaging Friday bird walk guide Lisa Murphy invites all who love birds to join her for a walk around the main trail every other Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BTA) State Park.

Add your comment: