Readers are the Best People (and Lovers), Science Says

There’s been a lot of studies recently talking about how “deep reading” of good literature has many benefits in terms of emotional intelligence. An recent article, “Why Readers, Scientifically, Are the Best People to Fall in Love With” outlines some of this work:

According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own.

They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires varying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist.

Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did you ever talk about books? If you didn’t, maybe you should think about changing your type.

It’s no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference.

Since relationships require understanding another’s perspective and recognizing their existence independent from your own, people who read good books – the one’s that get us to feel what it’s like to be another person – have, through reading, learned, in effect, to be better partners.

According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

This is proved over and over again, the more people take to reading. Their ability to connect with characters they haven’t met makes their understanding of the people around them much easier.

They have the capacity for empathy. They may not always agree with you, but they will try to see things from your point of view.

Do y0ur partner a favor and read a good book!

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

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