Fiction Reading Is Good For the Soul

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post over at Worlds Without End entitled “A Not-So-Novel Way to Read the Book of Mormon.” It reviewed the psychological benefits of reading fiction vs. non-fiction (i.e. narratives/stories vs. straight information) and applied it to reading the Book of Mormon, which Mormons are frequently encouraged to do by Church leaders. Research over the years has found those who read fiction compared to non-fiction tend to develop greater social abilities, changes in personality and emotions, and increased empathy. This is due to readers identifying and empathizing with characters in the novels. The novels act as a kind of social simulation for the mind.

A brand new article in Science continues the trend by demonstrating that reading literature helps readers understand the mental states of others. Such finds are very exciting, in my view. Makes me glad that I started reading fiction again (thanks, Nathaniel). Check out Reason‘s write-up on the article.

2 thoughts on “Fiction Reading Is Good For the Soul”

  1. I do what I can, Walker. :-)

    Speaking of which, how comes the Dresden Files reading? I’ve got a friend in my ward who is all the way up to the end of Proven Guilty. I haven’t been swimming enough recently (my main time for listening to the Dresden Files), so he’s actually passed me! I’ve got to get a move on if I’m going to be preppred for the new book in December.

    Also: I love that this article validates my passion for fiction reading.

    But I probably couldn’t have stopped anyway.

  2. Still on ‘Dead Beat’. I wanted to listen to it on audiobook, but it was checked out at the library. I’m also trying to balance it with my textbook and non-fiction books.

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