People who read fiction are more likely to have empathy, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Science, found that people who read fiction were better able to understand other people’s emotions.
Researchers from the University of Toronto conducted the study by asking participants to read either a fictional or non-fictional story.
Afterwards, the participants were asked to rate the emotions of the characters in the story.
The study found that people who had read the fictional story were better able to identify the emotions of the characters than those who had read the non-fictional story.
lead researcher Dr. Keith Oatley said in a statement. “Empathy is thinking from another person’s perspective. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with that person or feel the same emotions as they do, but it is understanding their internal experience.”
The study also found that people who read fiction were better able to understand other people’s point of view, and were more likely to agree with them.
“Fiction readers were better at taking the perspective of another person, and they also showed more agreement with that person’s perspective,” Dr. Oatley said.
The findings suggest that reading fiction can help people to be more understanding and empathize with others.
“Fiction readers were not only better at understanding what another person might be thinking or feeling, they were also better at perspective taking, and they showed more agreement with the other person’s point of view,” Dr. Oatley said.
“This suggests that reading fiction may help people to be more understanding and empathize with others.”
The study’s authors say the findings could have implications for education and for the treatment of mental disorders.
“The current study provides evidence that reading fiction may have important social benefits,” they wrote.
“If reading fiction can increase empathy and perspective taking, then it may be a valuable tool for educators and therapists who wish to promote these skills.”