Want To Improve Your Social Skills? Read More Literary Fiction
A study claims that, compared to nonfiction and popular fiction, literary fiction engages the reader in a type of social interaction with the characters, requiring them to work harder to infer their motives and feelings.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers at New York's New School for Social Research conducted five experiments in which participants were asked to read excerpts from different books and articles and then take a series of tests that gauged how well they were able to understand the emotional states of others. They found that participants who read literary fiction performed much better on the tests than those who read nonfiction or popular fiction. To help define each kind of writing, the researchers turned to prestigious literature award lists, Smithsonian Magazine, and Amazon's bestsellers list, respectively.
What's the Big Idea?
Unlike genre fiction, which tends to have fairly predictable and consistent characters and plots, literary fiction draws readers into a kind of social interaction with characters. Lead researcher David Comer Kidd says that writers of literary fiction "help us to make inferences without pushing us to make specific inferences, but they pull us into a situation where we really have to use our capacity to understand other people to its fullest extent." A paper describing the research was published online this week in Science.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.
- Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
- Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
- Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.