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Abstract

Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies. Yet little research has investigated what fosters this skill, which is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), in adults. We present five experiments showing that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of affective ToM (experiments 1 to 5) and cognitive ToM (experiments 4 and 5) compared with reading nonfiction (experiments 1), popular fiction (experiments 2 to 5), or nothing at all (experiments 2 and 5). Specifically, these results show that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances ToM. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art.
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... Shamay-Tsoory/ Aharon-Peretz 2007). KIDD & CASTANO (2013) bestätigen, dass insbesondere die Rezeption literarischer Texte die neuronalen Aktivitäten der emotionalen Aspekte im Prozess der Theory of Mind steigert: "[…] fiction affects ToM processes because it forces us to engage in mind-reading and character construction. Not any kind of fiction achieves that, though. ...
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Literarische Texte in einfacher Sprache werden in Bildungskontexten eingesetzt und gewinnen an Aufmerksamkeit in der deutschdidaktischen Diskussion. Empirische Studien zur Wirkung dieser Textversionen stehen hingegen noch aus. Der Band enthält eine Studie zur Untersuchung von Rezeptionsprozessen des Lesens eines Textausschnittes aus Emil und die Detektive in einfacher Sprache im Vergleich zur Rezeption des Originals. Anhand von Merkmalen der literarästhetischen Rezeption wie Empathie, Perspektivenübernahme, Involviertheit und Interesse kann auf die Wirkung und den Nutzen des Textangebotes geschlossen werden. Die Ergebnisse liefern erste Befunde für das junge, diskursive Forschungsfeld literarischer Texte in einfacher Sprache und geben einen Ausblick für die zukünftige Erforschung literarästhetischer Rezeptionsprozesse. Zugleich kann auf Implikationen für den sprachsensiblen Literaturunterricht verwiesen werden.
... Like all human beings, however, authors are fallible and so there is not guarantee that the beliefs that are offered by the work are, in fact, true. 8 There is empirical evidence that engaging with fi ction does, in fact, enhance one's ability to understand others' thoughts and feeling, cf.Kidd and Castano (2013;2017) discussed inDonnelly (2019). ...
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... This result is in line with several investigations showing that narrative-conceived both as literary narrative and as autobiographical storytellingenhances empathic abilities (and, more generally, social cognition). As for literary narrative, many studies showed that reading narratives has a positive effect on empathy measures (e.g., Castano et al. 2020;Johnson 2012;Kidd and Castano 2013;Koopman 2015;Mar et al. 2006, 2009). Specifically, Bal and Veltkamp (2013 revealed that empathy improved for people who read a fictional story, but only when they were emotionally transported into the story (this effect was not found for people in the control condition who read non-fiction). ...
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... Besides, enhancing imagery in books increases the positive psychological effects of reading stories (Johnson et al., 2013). In addition, a study published in SCIENCE (Kidd and Castano, 2013) conducted five experiments among American participants and the results showed that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances individuals' theory of mind, the capacity to identify and understand others' subjective states. ...
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