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Reading and Empathy

I came across an interesting article about how fiction readers tender to be more empathetic toward others. It’s a scientific study that focus on brain activity and psychological aspect. While it has been shown, scientifically, that reading enhances connectivity in brain; I have never come across any study on how reading fiction might have influenced the biochemical aspect of the brain. In short, researchers have found enhanced heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, part of the brain typically associated with understanding language. It makes sense to me that is so, because in reading fiction, I have to constantly flesh out the characters. The process of trying to understand what those characters are feelings and the motives behind them is the same in our relationships with other people. The origin of fiction somehow is rooted in real life. Fiction itself is a cultural facet, a literary manifestation of reality. Whether reading fiction can immediately enhance one’s empathy, talking about fiction with others certainly helps promote better social relationships.

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