Saturday, July 23, 2016

Reading novels increases empathy – says researcher – Gazeta Wyborcza

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                          Reading related & # x119; greater empathy  & # x119; - says psychologist

Reading increases empathy - says psychologist (Yulia Grogoryeva / 123RF)



Reading the novel develops the imagination, but equally important, awakens also empathy - says psychologist at the University of Toronto, citing its own research published in the "Trends in Cognitive Sciences."





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Canadian psychologist believes that developing empathy affects fiction, or storytelling, which was cultivated by humans since ancient times.

Keith Oatley at the University of Toronto reading books and listening to stories compares to more and more often used for various types of simulators to help eg. in mastering piloting airplanes. Fiction is also such a simulator, with the difference that develops the skills to cope in society, called emotional intelligence.

The specialist says that this is confirmed by his study in which he compared the people who read the novel, with those who had rather not do. He showed them photographs of only 36 eyes of different people. Volunteers have to assess their emotional state by assigning appropriate terms such as reflective, irritated or impatient.

Emotional reactions subjects were compared using the test of empathy "Mind in the Eyes Test". Oatley says that those who read novels won him a lot more points.

One of the earlier studies showed that readers show greater empathy towards people of a different skin color, after reading the book "Saffron Dreams" tells the a fictional story of a Muslim woman staying in New York.

Oatley believes that almost all cultures people to spin the story, which was not only a form of entertainment, but also have a much more profound effect on the listeners. The sake of accuracy, the research psychologist does not show a clear causal link, as may be the opposite - that people with greater empathy may be willing to read a novel.

But these are not the first study to show that books can change our brains. Earlier, experts from Emory University in Atlanta, USA proved the impact of reading a novel on the primary motor cortex, even several hours after the reading. Our mind treats literary fiction as a kind of simulator events and responds to her as a real event.

Source: PAP - Science in Poland



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