For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov

A new study found that reading literary fiction leads to better performance on tests of empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.


Dr. Humphrey, an emeritus professor at Cambridge University’s Darwin College, said he would have expected that reading generally would make people more empathetic and understanding. “But to separate off literary fiction, and to demonstrate that it has different effects from the other forms of reading, is remarkable,” he said.


Experts said the results implied that people could be primed for social skills like empathy, just as watching a clip from a sad movie can make one feel more emotional.   


by Pam Belluck