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.