Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reading fiction helps us understand others


I found this article really interesting: Study finds that fiction helps us understand ourselves and others.

That makes perfect sense to me. After all, stories are about people and what they think and what they do and how they react. What better way to learn about people and learn to deal with them?

It's especially interesting because a lot of people consider reading a very solitary activity. Anyone who has ever attended a book club meeting or hung out on the message boards at LibraryThing knows that readers love to talk about their books! But parents often scold their children for spending too much time wrapped up in books instead of playing with other kids. When I was younger, books were a refuge for me, when I felt unpopular or misunderstood. Maybe all that time spent reading about people helped me to become more social as I grew older.

Many thanks to my pal Baseball Diva for bringing this article to my attention on the forum where we post together.

5 comments:

Literary Feline said...

Reading really is a valuable resource and I am glad it is coming to light more and more. I think reading encourages open mindedness and out of the box thinking, both of which are crucial in adjusting in today's society. Thanks for sharing the article, Lisa!

flit said...

And thank you for bringing this article to my attention... I have been following Oatley & Mar's work but seem to have missed this particular article :)

Stephanie said...

Do parents really scold their children for reading too much? I remember reading books where that happened when I was younger (you'll ruin your eyes, etc.), but I didn't know that parents actually do that today. I read constantly when I was younger, and my son is a huge reader today- I would never tell him to stop reading!

Wow. Just blows my mind...

Jena said...

Who needs a study to know that? Let me guess--government funded?

And you know, there's a poem about why the narrator reads (to understand that which he/she hasn't personally encountered). I used to read it every year with my 8th graders, but I can remember neither title nor poet right now...

Nicole said...

This is a great post and article. Thanks for taking the time and pointing it out. I know that I have learned so much and have become much more open through reading and reading fiction especially.