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

PET PEEVE

Jessica Martinez, a medical assistant and part-time dog groomer in Rockford, Illinois, was growing her family—a husband, two daughters and a young beloved husky.

The Emerald Coast Holistic Health Expo

Like everyone else in the Panhandle, Scott and Daralyn Chase have spent the months since Hurricane Michael recalibrating their lives. For the husband-and-wife publishers of Natural Awakenings in Northwest Florida, that process involved shifting the magazine’s signature event, the Emerald Coast Holistic Health Expo, from March to September.

Pensacola’s Only Certified Rolfer Furthers Training

​Sharalee Hoelscher has completed more than 300 hours of extra training to become the Pensacola area's only Certified Advanced Rolfer.

Drip Parlor Provides IV Hydration and Vitamin Therapy

Intravenous​ vitamin and hydration therapy, a growing trend in health and wellness, is now available locally at the Drip Parlor in Gulf Breeze.

Essential Oils Workshop Focuses on Boosting Immunity

ElemenTree Yoga, in Navarre, will host a dōTERRA Essential Oils “make and take” workshop designed to jump-start the immune-boosting process.

Add your comment: