View Full Version : Novel-reading can promote empathy -- what a surprise!

07-20-2016, 10:38 AM

WOW! WHo would have guessed it! :sarcasm:sarcasm

This is one of the reasons I write. I come from a family of political activists, some of them radical, but politics was never my "thing". My "thing" is getting into people's minds. It's a good "thing".

‘What’s distinctive about humans is that we make social arrangements with other people - with friends, with lovers, with children - that aren’t pre-programmed by instinct. Fiction can augment and help us understand our social experience.’
Professor Oatley said further studies have shown that narratives can even generate empathy for a race or culture that is dissimilar to one’s own.

In one such study, readers of the fictional story Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah -which focuses on the experience of a Muslim woman in New York - were found to have a reduced bias in the perception of Arab faces.

Dr Oatley added: ‘Almost all human cultures create stories that, until now, have been rather dismissively called “entertainment.”
‘I think there is also something more important going on.
‘What’s a piece of fiction, what’s a novel, what’s short story, what’s a play or movie or television series? It’s a piece of consciousness being passed from mind to mind.

‘When you’re reading or watching a drama, you’re taking in a piece of consciousness that you make your own. That seems an exciting idea.”’

Good fiction is important! What a revelation!