Want to be nicer, kinder and more empathetic? There’s a shortcut: be a reader. A study at London’s Kingston’s University noted that, despite the solitary nature of reading, being an avid reader leads to stronger and more positive people skills. From Peace Quarters:
One might think that those who prefer to watch television would display more sociable behavior. It would make sense. Because of the massive influx of books out there, it’s more likely that two people have watched the same show versus have read the same book.
However, the results showed the opposite. In book readers versus T.V. watchers, the book readers came out on top when displaying more empathetic behavior. They also found that those who mainly watched television actually displayed more anti-social behavior.
Unsurprisingly, what you read plays a part, as well:
What’s interesting, as noted by researcher Rose Turner was that “all forms of fiction were not equal.” Fiction readers showed the best social skills. Specifically, when broken down by genre, they saw that readers of comedy were the best at relating to people. Romance and drama lovers were the most empathetic and most skilled at seeing things through other’s eyes.
These results are fascinating (not to mention an ego boost to we bookworms); however, they do raise the old “chicken or the egg” question. Is it that reading fiction can help a person become more empathetic or do empathetic people simply read more fiction?
You can read the whole piece here.