Have you ever felt that reading a good book makes you better able to connect with your fellow human beings? If so, the results of a new scientific study back you up, but only if your reading material is literary fiction – pulp fiction or non-fiction will not do.
Empathy occurs in the spaces between characters, such as Joe and Pip in Great Expectations, pictured here in the 2012 film adaptation. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex Features
Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships.
Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.
Fortunately, new research suggests a simple antidote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.
A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.
“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”
Djikic and her colleagues describe an experiment featuring 100 University of Toronto students. After arriving at the lab and providing some personal information, the students read either one of eight short stories or one of eight essays. The fictional stories were by authors including Wallace Stegner, Jean Stafford, and Paul Bowles; the non-fiction essays were by equally illustrious writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Stephen Jay Gould.
Afterwards, each participant filled out a survey measuring their emotional need for certainty and stability. They expressed their agreement or disagreement with such statements as “I don’t like situations that are uncertain” and “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.” Continue reading
AP LITERATURE: Quarter 3 Reading Schedule, Beloved Notes, MLA Template, Literary Criticism (Follow the link and use the links on the left for some guiding questions; for the analysis due on Tuesday, stick to the fairy tale and school of thought you pinned down in class last week.)
AP SEMINAR: AP Capstone Digital Portfolio, Doc. 6 (Thompson), PT2 Stimulus Materials & Directions, Stimulus Texts Theme Task
research databases: EBSCO Host, Gale Databases, JSTOR, Google Scholar; other credible research sources: The Atlantic, The Economist, EPA, ERIC, Nature, The New York Times,The New Yorker, Pew Research, Science Direct, Scientific American
AP LITERATURE: Quarter 3 Reading Schedule, Quarter 3 Poetry Packet, Lit Notes Review Outline, MLA Template, Heart of Darkness Notes, Heart of Darkness Handout (for Journaling Inspiration)
AP SEMINAR: AP Capstone Digital Portfolio, PT1 Guide & Rubrics, PT1 Team Form, Real-World Problems & Second Semester Grading Changes, Implicit Bias Test, JSTOR Signup, Group Norms Assignment
research databases: EBSCO Host, Gale Databases, JSTOR, Google Scholar; other credible research sources: The Atlantic, The Economist, EPA, ERIC, Nature, The New York Times,The New Yorker, Pew Research, Science Direct, Scientific American, Vice News, Room for Debate
AP LITERATURE: Quarter Two Reading Schedule, Hamlet Notes, ‘Reading Shakespeare’ Packet, Hamlet E-text, Second Quarter Poetry Response Packet, MLA Template, Mythology Review List, Hamlet Essay Prompts
Hamlet Audioplay: Act I (≈:50), Act II (≈:37), Act III (≈:58), Acts IV-V (≈1:23)
AP SEMINAR: AP Capstone Digital Portfolio, MLA Template, Purdue OWL (MLA), Citation Machine (MLA), Mock Performance Task #1, PT1 Rubrics, Sample IRR
research databases: EBSCO Host, Gale Databases, Google Scholar; other credible research sources: The Atlantic, The Economist, EPA, ERIC, Nature, The New York Times,The New Yorker, Pew Research, Science Direct, Scientific American
AP LITERATURE: Discussion Prep, Course Syllabus, Join the Remind Group, Jane Eyre Journal Directions & Turnitin Registration Instructions, Sample Journals, Jane Eyre E-text, Poetry Packet, MLA Template, Jane Eyre Vocab. Assignment, First Quarter Reading Schedule, Visual Thesaurus, LitFinder (password for at-home use is pinellas)
AP SEMINAR: Seminar Survey, Lenses Handout, Plagiarism Notes, Join A Day’s Remind Group, Join B Day’s Remind Group, Library Research Methods, Library Resources, Police/Robots Packet, SPHS Photo Task, Turnitin.com Registration Instructions, Tone Packet, Unit Topics Survey, Citation Machine, World Book Encyclopedia (username: pinellas, password: schools)
research databases: Gale Databases (password for at-home use is pinellas), Google Scholar, EBSCOhost (coming in September), JSTOR (coming in October)