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

Practitioner Profiles

Start the New Year Off Right

The recipes are your guide to having fun in your kitchen creating new desserts with and for your family and friends.

Get Earthed!

Earthing has been touted as a cure for everything from jet lag and arthritis to cancer.

Embracing Your Journey Expo Slated for January 27

Purple Lotus Productions will be hosting the event, which offers eight free lectures, hands-on activities, and a gift bag to the first 100 guests.

Lost Dutchman Marathon Happening Presidents’ Day Weekend

The marathon follows a USA Track & Field-certified course and can be used as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

Add your comment: