Reading The Classics Makes You Better At Relationships

Reading Books Makes You Better At Relationships

A while back in 2013 two psychologists Kidd and Castano from the New School for Social Research in New York showed through a series of experiments that reading literary fiction as opposed to popular fiction made you defter at reading other people’s emotions and hence more capable at handling complex social relationships; advantageous both it would seem in your personal life as well as your workplace.  Kidd’s and Castano’s findings have not gone unchallenged, as some have questioned the experiments they have used, others have not been able to replicate their results using the same experiments, and there are those who question whether the causal link between reading and social interactions is that easy to make.  However, it has led to an interesting discussion about how characters are described and their complexity in both types of literature.  Literary fiction has more complex characters, where the reader is required to fill in the gaps or examine their relationship with other characters.  Whereas in popular fiction, the characters have simpler personalities and proceed predictably as the story unfolds, leaving the reader with less assumptions to make.  The requirement to make sense of the more complex characters some feel, helps us to display more empathy in real life and hence make you better at sustaining relationships.  So starting reading some classics to improve your relationships with your partner and boss!

Full articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/08/literary-fiction-improves-empathy-study

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/10/now-we-have-proof-reading-literary-fiction-makes-you-better-person/309996/

https://www.mhpbooks.com/sorry-kiddos-reading-doesnt-make-you-a-better-person-it-just-makes-you-a-nerd/

Research paper:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257349728_Reading_Literary_Fiction_Improves_Theory_of_Mind