Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy

  title={Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy},
  author={Maja Djikic and Keith Oatley and Mihnea C. Moldoveanu},
  journal={The Scientific Study of Literature},
The potential of literature to increase empathy was investigated in an experiment. Participants (N = 100, 69 women) completed a package of questionnaires that measured lifelong exposure to fiction and nonfiction, personality traits, and affective and cognitive empathy. They read either an essay or a short story that were equivalent in length and complexity, were tested again for cognitive and affective empathy, and were finally given a non-self-report measure of empathy. Participants who read a… 


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The Function of Fiction is the Abstraction and Simulation of Social Experience

  • R. MarK. Oatley
  • Psychology, Art
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2008
It is argued that literary narratives have a more important purpose and offer models or simulations of the social world via abstraction, simplification, and compression, which facilitates the communication and understanding of social information and makes it more compelling, achieving a form of learning through experience.