Reading fiction may encourage empathy

The researchers found that reading narrative fiction gave rise to significantly higher empathetic responses than it did while reading non-fictional books.

According to the study published in journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, a psychologist-novelist shows that reading or watching narratives may encourage empathy.

“This intersection between literature and psychology has only taken off in the last few years. In part, because researchers are recognising that there is something important about imagination,” said Keith Oatley, Professor, the University of Toronto Department.

Reading fiction and perhaps especially literary fiction simulates a kind of social world, prompting understanding and empathy in the reader, revealed the study.