posted on Oct, 6 2013 @ 05:35 AM
According to a recent study covered by the British Psychological Society
article can be found here
"Readers of literary fiction must draw on more flexible interpretative resources to infer the feelings and thoughts of characters," said the
researchers David Kidd and Emanuele Castano at the New School for Social Research. "That is, they must engage Theory of Mind processes [ToM refers to
our ability to represent and understand other people's thoughts and feelings]."
The researchers' belief is that the active ingredient of literary fiction is the way such books "engage their readers creatively as writers ...
The absence of a single authorial perspective prompts readers to enter a vibrant discourse with the author and her characters." However, they
conceded that their findings "are only preliminary and much research is needed."
Personally I find this massively interesting, as it made me rethink my own choice of word food and how that may relate to my understanding of others.
As someone who reads predominantly non-fiction it's encouraged me to nourish my mind in other ways with literary works.
Also, if pop fiction is not having the same effects and the article alludes to the reading of pop fiction as a more passive process, rather than
creatively engaging, what effect does this have on the minds at large who're regularly consuming these works? Another entertainment system to numb
Nonetheless, if replicated and elucidated in further research, there could be important educational and cultural implications to arise from these
new findings, especially at a time when many policy-makers are calling for less emphasis on fiction in secondary education. For now however we're a
long way from knowing exactly what aspects of Theory of Mind benefit from reading literary fiction and why. It's also not yet established how long
the benefits last, and whether the effects of reading short passages (as in this study) is any different from the experience of reading an entire