Mind Reading and Literary Fiction

We’ve touched recently on the topic of whether librarians can help students develop emotional intelligence and, also, on the topic of whether academic librarians should be pursuing reader’s advisory.

NPR discusses some pretty interesting research bearing directly on both of these issues:

Your ability to “read” the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.

That’s the conclusion of a in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.

On average, people who read parts of more literary books like The Round House by Louise Erdrich did better on those tests than people who read either nothing, read nonfiction or read best-selling popular thrillers like The Sins of the Mother by Danielle Steel.

Do you think this means my kitten will start to understand how I feel when he bites my ankles at 5am every morning?

Marlowe

Probably not. But some very cool possibilities available to the innovative academic librarians of the future!

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Filed under Education, Library Instruction, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Reading & Literacy

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