It’s long been thought that reading books will help to make a person more intelligent, and it’s not hard to see why, but now a recent study proposes that regular reading can make an individual a more empathetic and kinder person, as well as leading to an increased skill in socializing.
As The Language Nerds reports, a study conducted by Kingston University in London, involving 124 participants, were queried on their preferences for books, TV, and plays, as well as being questioned on their considerations for other people’s feelings and on whether and how often they acted to help others.
The results indicated that those who said they enjoy books above other forms of entertainment were more likely to excel socially when compared to those who prefer TV. Fans of TV shows tended to be less friendly and less understanding of other people’s views.
Interestingly, the study did find that a person’s emotional intelligence changes depending on what type of literature they read. For instance, fiction fans were found to have the most positive social behaviour, and readers of drama and romance were the most empathetic. Those who enjoyed experimental novels were found to be best at seeing different perspectives and fans of comedy tended to be the best at relating to others.
Researchers during the British Psychological Society conference in Brighton said: “Exposure to fiction relates to a range of empathetic abilities […] Engaging with fictional prose and comedy in particular could be key to enhancing people’s empathetic abilities”.
It’s worth noting that this study does not necessarily prove that reading makes you more empathetic or social skilled, but could be more of an indication that people with those abilities tend to be drawn to reading.