Finally, something enjoyable is actually good for you

This comes via that wonderful source of reading info, Sharon of Kuala Lumpur, at her bookaholic blog.

“The more fiction a person reads, the more empathy they have and the better they perform on tests of social understanding and awareness. By contrast, reading more non-fiction, fact-based books shows the opposite association.”

All this from a University of Toronto study – see Sharon’s blog for more details.

“The researchers surmised that reading fiction could improve people’s social awareness via at least two routes – by exposing them to concrete social knowledge concerning the way people behave, and by allowing them to practise inferring people’s intentions and monitoring people’s relationships. Non-fiction readers, by contrast, “fail to simulate such experiences, and may accrue a social deficit in social skills as a result of removing themselves from the actual social world”.

So there you are – go buy/read more fiction. Especially mine… :=D

And in the meantime, back in that post on Trilogies, a book reviewer has placed his take here.


Finally, something enjoyable is actually good for you — 14 Comments

  1. I always knew that, Savante… 🙂

    That’s why it’s called comfort reading maybe, Gillian – it matches what we find around us, or at least an idealised form of it. We don’t have to think, and it is idealised, and therefore comfortable.

  2. Interesting theory. Then again, I do know a few avid readers of Fiction (or mainly F&SF) who still don’t seem to have progressed too far in terms of understanding how how other people work, let alone the social interaction side. (Okay, the few who spring immediately to mind all happen to be highly intelligent self-oriented males, but hey).

    I suppose it’s part of the mysterious interplay between personal disposition and surrounding environment, some folk are more influenced than others. Or to put it another way, Fiction opens doorways for those who are willing to pass through. :o)

    And yes, everyone go buy Glenda’s books!! :o)

  3. DO you realize you’re writing in fantasy mode ? “Sharon of Kuala Lumpur”.. like “Guy of Gisbourne” or “Robin of Locksley” 🙂

  4. Why thank you, Hrugaar…

    Actually, Anon, the explanation is much more mundane. I don’t think Sharon uses her full name on her blog, and also most of the folk who read this blog aren’t from around here anyway, so it seemed a good way to sort of ID her. Lol…

  5. On second thoughts, I rather like the idea of Glenda of the
    Rainforest. Has a definite ring to it. Better than The Swamp Monster, which is what I used to be called when I was working in the peat swamps of Pahang.

  6. Unless the characters behave in such strange ways and have such unusual motivations that you find ourself wondering if it is deliberate and the idea was to show social incompetence, or whether the author has no idea. Particularly in close relationships.

  7. anon – if you are wondering about characters’ motivations and behaviour, that most likely means you are thinking about them and trying to understand them … which is kind of the point of the exercise: good fiction promotes thinking and awareness. Heh.

  8. And we can learn from others’ social ineptitude; learn what not to do, in effect – whether the social incompetence is deliberately invoked by the author, or otherwise.

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