Why Novels Make You Nicer



According to an article by the above title in THE WEEK of October 25th, (pg 19) researchers at the New School for Social Research have found what English teachers have long maintained—that “reading fiction enables people to better understand other people’s feelings and perspectives.”


The Psychologists asked subjects ages 18-75 to read 10-15 pages literary fiction, popular fiction, or non-fiction. Those who read literary fiction scored much higher on tests asking them to read emotions in people’s eyes and faces. This, according to researchers, suggests heightened emotional intelligence. According to study author, Emanuele Castano, in an interview with USA Today, that is probably be because literary fiction “forces you as a reader to contribute your own interpretations, to reconstruct the mind of the character.” That, in turn, according to the article, “may make readers better at empathizing with others and navigating complex social situations in real life.”


So Read On!


Here are three for you.

Home Fires Cover 1Nowhere Else To Go coverThe Inheritors

You’ll find them all on-line at Amazon under my name: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Judith%20Kirscht

HOME FIRES will be out in paperback in January.

6 Responses to Why Novels Make You Nicer

  1. Terry Persun October 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    I always suspected as much. But it’s good that someone is researching this.

    • Judy October 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      That must make authors twice as nice, right?

  2. valerie hobbs October 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Nice site, Judy! I shared the NY Times article with fellow authors, teachers, and librarians last week at the county school’s Author Breakfast. I know, speaking to the choir, huh?

    • Judy October 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      Why not? We English teachers need a little confirmation in this tech-demented world.

  3. Hemlata Vasavada October 24, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    I always suspected that reading makes one a better person by empathizing and understanding the emotions of other characters. Now it is validated by research. Judy, your stories are full of such insights about humans.

    • Judy October 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Thank you Hema. I think fascination with the interior workings of humans is what makes us writers.

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