Saturday, 8 February 2014

Reading literary fiction helps increase social skills

Looking to increase your social skills?  Put down that copy of Twilight/50 Shades of Grey/whatever random Dan Brown novel immediately, and pick up some Salinger, Joyce, Austin or Carver!!  It may help you to better understand and identify the emotions of others and improve your interpersonal relationships!

A study by Kidd and Castano (2013) measured the effects of reading literary fiction on increasing social skills, or "theory of mind skills."Theory of Mind skills include the ability to identify and understand the emotional states of others.  Such skills help us to build interpersonal relationships.  

Shift Dress - Stellino Designs
Lipstick - Mac, Snob
Glasses - Burberry

The authors state "The capacity to identify and understand others’ subjective states is one of the most stunning products of human evolution. It allows successful navigation of complex social relationships and helps to support the empathic responses that maintain them. Deficits in this set of abilities, commonly referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM), are associated with psychopathologies marked by interpersonal difficulties. Even when the ability is intact, disengagement of ToM has been linked to the breakdown of positive interpersonal and intergroup relationships"

The authors conducted five experiments which compared reading a few pages of literary fiction, against non-fiction or popular fiction.  The results showed that the readers of literary fiction passages vs the other groups, displayed  the immediate ability to discern people's emotions from pictures of their faces.  

More reason than ever to burn your Twilight novels!!  

What are some of your favourite literary fiction novels?

Here are a few of mine!!

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