Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading Fiction Improves Your Social Skills

“Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.”
G.K. Chesterton
Did you know that reading fiction can strengthen your social ties and even change your personality?

I read an interesting article in Scientific American called Fiction Hones Social Skills. As an avid reader, lover of learning, and a social worker, this article made me extremely happy. I have often heard people talk about how they only read non fiction because fiction is a waste of time. There is scientific reasearch that shows that reading fiction is good for your life.

Researcher, Keith Oatley explains how reading fiction can enhance your life....

1. It can fine-tune your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings.
2. Entering imagined worlds builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person’s point of view.
3. A love affair with narrative may gradually alter your personality—in some cases, making you more open to new experiences and more socially aware.
In an interesting study by Keith Oatley , ninety-four (94) people were asked to guess the emotion of a person by looking at a photograph of their eyes. The study discovered that:

“The more fiction people read, the better they were at perceiving emotion in the eyes, and…correctly interpreting social cues.”

The moral of the story is that reading fiction will help us better understand real human emotion, and in turn improves our social skills.

Continue to read your nonfiction, newspapers, but don't forget to....
Read More Fiction 
P.S. You must have a subscription to read the Scientific American

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