Can Experience-Taking While Reading Increase Our Empathy? – Science and Religion Today

In recent research, Lisa Libby and I explored the phenomenon of experience-taking, the spontaneous process of assuming the identity of a character in a written narrative and simulating that character’s subjective experience (e.g., the character’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors, goals, and traits) while immersed in the world of the story.


This work demonstrates that experience-taking is a unique and powerful process that gives individuals the chance to live different lives, take on different identities, and have new and varied experiences, which can be quite unlike the ones they have had in their own lives.