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Effects of Reading on Knowledge, Social Abilities, and Selfhood Theory and Empirical Studies

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Abstract

Reading exhibits a principle of expertise: the more one does it the more skilled one is likely to become both in the activity and in content knowledge. Our experiences with text lead to the acquisition of both vocabulary and general knowledge. Research from our group examines how reading can have other outcomes. With a starting point of fiction as an entryway into simulations of social interactions, we review empirical studies of how the reading of fiction can improve empathy and other social abilities, and prompt changes in personality.
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chapter 8
Eects of reading on knowledge,
social abilities, and selood
eory and empirical studies
Raymond Mar, Maja Djikic & Keith Oatley
Reading exhibits a principle of expertise: the more one does it the more skilled
one is likely to become both in the activity and in content knowledge. Our
experiences with text lead to the acquisition of both vocabulary and general
knowledge. Research from our group examines how reading can have other
outcomes. With a starting point of ction as an entryway into simulations of
social interactions, we review empirical studies of how the reading of ction can
improve empathy and other social abilities, and prompt changes in personality.
Keywords: liction, reading, simulation, empathy, personality change,
theory-of-mind
1.  Introduction
If science exemplies the exploring mind of the academy, literature remains its
heart. Few have done as much as Willie van Peer to maintain the heart, and at the
same time to apply the mind to the study of literature. In his research on point
of view and sympathy (van Peer & Maat 1996) and on foregrounding (van Peer
1986, 2007), he has shown how we can deepen our understanding of central as-
pects of literariness – the heart of literature – and oer evidence in the place of
opinion.
In this chapter, we follow van Peer’s example of empirical exploration and raise
the question of whether and how reading can change the reader. We use the theory
of expertise as a basis of thinking about how reading can have psychological eects
that continue when one puts the book down.
e main method employed to understand how skills are attained has been
the study of expertise. is research in cognitive psychology (e.g., Ericsson 1990,
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Ross 2006) has shown that to become an expert – a person of accomplishment – in any
skill, one must devote at least 10,000 hours to the domain of interest. is works
out to three hours a day for ten years (taking account of holidays and weekends,
this is about the amount of time children spend in school classrooms during their
lives) or ten hours a day for three years (about the time undergraduates spend
completing a university degree). For maximum accomplishment, the time is best
spent in problem solving, and in acquiring knowledge and procedures in a par-
ticular domain. Coaching is oen an important component. e acquisition of the
many skills of reading falls readily under this rubric (Wagner & Stanovich 1996).
For perhaps two thousand years aer the invention of writing, the activity of
reading and writing was the province mainly of scribes who worked with adminis-
trators. en, about 2500 years ago in Europe, the learning of reading and writing
by wider sections of the population began with the invention of writing in an al-
phabetic language, Greek (Powell 2002). Since then, coaching in the skills of read-
ing and writing has gradually become more widespread. Today it is the principal
task of the world’s education systems. e general term to designate completion of
a school education is the achievement of literacy: being able to read.
Literacy has huge eects on society. It is a prerequisite for the many technologies
in industry, housing, power generation, transport, commerce, health, and information
on which advanced societies have become utterly dependent. But what about the
eects of reading on the individual? ese are by no means so well recognized. e
most important research program on such eects has been conducted by Stanov-
ich, West, and their colleagues (e.g., West, Stanovich & Mitchell 1993; Stanovich
1993; Stanovich, West & Harrison 1995; Echols et al. 1996). e program involved
two steps.
First, Stanovich, West, and their colleagues developed a method for assessing
how much people read in their daily lives. To start with it seemed clear that to
see how much people read, daily diaries of activities would need to be kept. But
this was laborious. Stanovich & West (1989), therefore, invented a checklist of the
names of authors of books: the Author Recognition Test (art). As well as names
of authors the list included, as foils, names of people who were not authors. Par-
ticipants were asked to check all those names they knew to be authors, and a score
was derived by subtracting the number of foils from the number of real authors.
People who read a lot know the names of authors from their own reading and from
reviews, visit bookshops, and so on. e art is easy to administer and score, and
there are versions for adults and children. Scores on these tests were found to be
very good proxies for diary measures of reading, and indeed to correlate well with
behavioral observations of the amount of reading people did (Stanovich 1993). It
has thus become the method of choice for determining the extent of people’s read-
ing. e general term for the measure is “print exposure.
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Chapter 8. Eects of reading on knowledge, social abilities, and selood 11
Second, these researchers took as outcome measures people’s vocabulary, ver-
bal skills, and the amount they knew in various domains of knowledge. en, with
these outcomes, they used the method of hierarchical regression and entered into
the equation rst such measures as age, social class, and general intelligence score
(iq), and then measures of print exposure, such as the art. Even when age, social
class, and iq were controlled for, print exposure was a strong predictor of vocabu-
lary, language use, and general knowledge. e more you read, the more you know
and the better you know it. Interestingly, print exposure does not predict every-
thing in the cognitive domain. For instance, Siddiqui, West & Stanovich (1998)
showed that although print exposure has been found to be a good predictor of
word usage, it is not a good predictor of how to use words in a de-contextualized
way to reason in syllogisms.
Our research has, as it were, taken o from the psychology of expertise and
from the methods and results of Stanovich, West, and their colleagues. We have
sought to understand the eects not of reading in general, but of reading ction.
e acquisition of knowledge is a logical outcome of reading non-ction, but what
results from the reading of ctional literature? Is ction just a pastime, an en-
tertainment, or does it have psychological eects that can be distinguished from
those of reading non-ction? Does reading the works of great artists have eects
that can be distinguished from reading the same information but without artistic
form?
e theory of ction from which we start is that a novel, short story, play,
or lm is a kind of simulation that runs not on computers but on minds (Oatley
1999). e simulation is both of other minds, and of people’s interactions in the
social world. We argue that people are good at understanding processes one step
at a time, but are much less good at understanding interactions of these processes
with others. us in thinking about the weather, we can understand that winds
blow from areas of high atmospheric pressure to areas of low pressure. But what
happens when other factors operate? Does the simple understanding hold when a
warm mass of air is blown towards a cold mass? Does it operate in the same way
when winds pass over land and over water? To help understand such interactions
of multiple factors we need simulations. Hence to give a weather forecast we need
to enter into a computer simulation both the wind-producing eects of dierent
atmospheric pressures and also many other processes that interact with them. So,
when you look at a map or summary of tomorrow’s weather on the television or in
the newspaper, you are looking at the output of a computer simulation. Similarly,
we argue, it is easy to understand single factors in the social world. We know that
if someone, say Alice, is thwarted in a strong desire by Beatrice, Alice is likely to
be angry with Beatrice. But what happens when Beatrice is Alices boss? What
happens when Beatrice is Alice’s daughter? What happens when Beatrice is Alice’s
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lover? Novels, short stories and plays enter basic tendencies such as instigations to
anger into simulations with other social processes that can aect them.
In the way that the psychology of expertise has shown that practice is impor-
tant for any skill, we argue that to read or watch such simulations in books and
theaters is to set ourselves social problems, and practice on them. We might say
that just as a cockpit simulator sets problems and gives practice in piloting an air-
cra, a novel provides sets of problems and gives us practice in navigating in the
social domain. Such practice should then – we argue – promote transfer of these
skills to the real world. We call this the Social-Improvement Hypothesis. is the-
ory has been explicated in detail elsewhere (Mar & Oatley, in press; cf. Keen 2007;
Zunshine 2006). Here we focus on empirical investigations of this idea.
Since one of the less understood actors in the social domain is our own self,
we also argue that reading ction, which oen focuses on issues of identity, can
help self-understanding. Arguably, self-understanding is an important element
in changing ourselves. We call this the Self-Improvement Hypothesis: changes in
selood can occur as a function of reading certain kinds of ction.
.  e social-improvement hypothesis: Does reading ction
improve social skills?
George Eliot (1856/1883) proposed that the principal benet of art is the exten-
sion of our sympathies. Among empirical studies related to the idea that litera-
ture promotes sympathy is that of van Peer & Maat (1996), who found eects on
readers’ sympathies for dierent characters in a short story as a function of the
point of view from which the story was written. Moreover, Hakemulder (2000) has
taken up Eliot’s idea of “sympathies,” by proposing that literary ction is a “moral
laboratory. He searched the psychological literature and found 54 experimental
studies that satised criteria of reliability and validity, in which ctional narratives
promoted moral development, improved empathy, and changed norms, values, and
self-concepts. e potential for reading to inuence our empathic abilities appears
to exist even at a young age. Flerx, Fidler & Rogers (1976) tested ve-year-olds who
either had ctional stories read to them, watched ction lms that depicted egali-
tarian sex roles, or watched lms with more traditional non-egalitarian sex roles. As
compared to those exposed to the more traditional material, children exposed to the
egalitarian material showed more egalitarian responses on tests of stereotypes for
womens occupations immediately aer the material was presented. A week later,
despite some reduction, the eect persisted. ese results indicate an improved ca-
pacity to empathize with a marginalized group, and we regard this kind of study
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Chapter 8. Eects of reading on knowledge, social abilities, and selood 1
as an instance of persuasion by means of narrative (e.g., Green & Brock 2005).
In a related experiment using adults (Green 2004), it was shown that individuals
who had more experience with the content of a story (i.e., homosexuality, fra-
ternities) reported more engagement and consequently greater shis in attitude
toward those ideas presented in the story. Such studies demonstrate the likely
interaction between the creation of empathy for a group through narrative c-
tion and the capacity for empathy with a group in a narrative ction based on
past experience.
e question whether eects of the kinds mentioned above are unique to nar-
rative ction or whether they also apply to the reading of other types of texts re-
mains. Hakemulder (2000, 2001, see also this volume) provided a possible answer
with his experiments using Dutch university students. His hypothesis was that c-
tion encourages readers to take on the roles of characters in stories, and this makes
them more empathetic. Expository non-ction, of course, lacks such characters.
Students were asked to read either a chapter of a novel about the dicult life of an
Algerian woman or an essay on the general problem of women’s rights in Algeria.
As compared with those who read the essay, those who read the ctional piece said
they would be less likely to accept current Algerian norms for relationships be-
tween men and women. In another study, Hakemulder found this same decreased
tolerance for current norms in students who read the ction piece under instruc-
tions to mentally project themselves into the situation, as compared with those
asked to mark the structure of the text with a pencil instead. is follow-up study
rules out the possibility that simple text dierences are the pivotal variable, and
supports the idea that it is our imaginative projection of the self into the described
situations that is key.
Projecting ourselves into the minds of actual others – inferring their desires, be-
liefs, and emotions – is known as possessing a theory-of-mind (Astington, Harris &
Olson 1988), specically, the simulation-theory account (for a strong view see Heal,
1998). We explored the idea that this social cognitive process is employed during
the comprehension of stories by examining the neuropsychological evidence for
this overlap. If the process of story comprehension calls on a process of social
cognition then it would be expected that both would draw upon the same areas of
the brain. Both the neuroimaging and the neuropsychological (i.e., patient) litera-
tures conrm this. Of the ve brain regions consistently associated with narrative
processing, four are also part of what is known as the social cognitive network
(Mar 2004, cf. Frith & Frith 2003, Saxe & Wexler 2005). Recently, Buckner &
Carroll (2007) observed that a network of brain regions appears to be common
to a number of dierent tasks, including theory-of-mind, spatial navigation, au-
tobiographical memory and future planning. While they hypothesized that this
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core network was responsible for self-projection, which they believe underlies all
these processes, they presented no systematic empirical evidence for the existence
of this network. To remedy this situation, Spreng, Mar and Kim (under revision)
performed quantitative meta-analyses for these processes (except future planning,
for which too few studies exist) and examined how the results of each overlapped.
We found ample evidence that a core network contributing to these processes does
exist; a number of brain structures were commonly implicated across the dier-
ent meta-analyses, indicating that these diverse processes share a neural substrate.
Moreover, some of these brain regions also overlap with those used for narrative
comprehension (Mar 2004). Such ndings support the idea that self-projection
could explain the link between empathy and the reading of narrative ction.
Whereas the behavioral studies by Hakemulder (2000, 2001) on the role of
self-projection have employed the presentation of short texts, our own approach
to this question has been to make use of the art to examine how life-time expo-
sure to dierent genres of text impact empathic abilities. We created a revised ver-
sion of the art that allowed us to distinguish exposure to narrative ction from
exposure to expository non-ction. (e small number of items for each genre
of ction unfortunately precludes any analysis based on dierent types of ction;
this is a question for future research.) Our studies employing this measure, and
undergraduate students in Toronto, have indicated that lifetime exposure to c-
tion does appear related to important social outcomes. In an initial investigation,
scores on the art were correlated with performance on two separate social ability
tasks (Mar, Oatley, Hirsh, dela Paz & Peterson 2006). Exposure to narrative ction
was positively associated with empathic ability, whereas exposure to expository
non-ction was negatively associated with empathy. Importantly, through the use
of partial correlations, we determined that these associations could not be attrib-
uted to dierences in age, experience with English, and general intelligence. In a
follow-up study, we were able to replicate this original nding and also explore
possible mediating variables. Using a bootstrapped multiple mediation analysis,
we demonstrated that the tendency to imagine oneself as part of a narrative (i.e.,
self-projection) partially mediated the relation between exposure to narrative c-
tion and empathic performance, even aer considering the role of Openness to
Experience, the most relevant Big Five personality trait (Mar, Oatley & Peterson,
in preparation). Because the direct eect between ction and empathy remained
statistically signicant in our mediation analysis, aer taking into account narra-
tive engagement and trait Openness, it is possible that some other factor acting in
conjunction with self-projection is also playing a role. We hypothesize that this fac-
tor may be practice in understanding social interactions, a skill which could transfer
from the reading context to the real social world. In another study, we found that
students randomly assigned to read a short story perform better on a subsequent
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Chapter 8. Eects of reading on knowledge, social abilities, and selood 1
measure of social reasoning than those assigned to read an essay (Mar 2007). is
dierence, importantly, does not arise with respect to a non-social measure of
analytical reasoning.
Taken together, these studies from our own group and others have provided
evidence that indicates the reading of narrative ction plays a role in developing
social expertise. Practice at understanding the ctional social worlds represented
by narrative appears to improve our empathic abilities. is research has also il-
luminated a likely mechanism – projection of the self into the narrative – that is
partly responsible for this relation. Important areas of future research include de-
veloping a more complete understanding of what this form of self-projection en-
tails, how it is achieved on a neural basis, and also what other variables aside from
self-projection can help us understand this relation between ction and empathy.
.  e self-improvement hypothesis: Can reading ction
help change the self?
Self-Improvement by reading can be thought of as a branch of bibliotherapy,
although with the reading material being literary ction rather than the usual
self-help texts. Narratives are persuasive, and the morals embedded in them are
able to change ideas individuals have about the world (Green & Brock 2005).
Hakemulder (2000), for example, found that reading a short story about an adul-
terous love aair, by either Chekhov or Beattie, made men change their attitudes
toward adultery in what may be described as a more ethically defensible direction,
but only when these stories described a negative outcome for the women involved.
Readers, therefore, can adopt the morals implicitly represented in a literary text, and
in this way be seen as improving themselves. e process need not be conscious, given
that modeling of the ideas presented in narratives (Green & Brock 2005), while
requiring an active and imaginative mind, does not require explicit deliberation.
Experiences with the morals of stories may not always represent what we would
consider self-improvement however, as the possibility exists that readers may choose
to model morally murkier aspects of narratives as well. A wealth of literature employs
themes of moral ambiguity. ese stories are oen the most interesting ones, dealing
as they do with complex issues that slip the bonds of easy answers.
In addition to persuasion, whereby readers report changes in attitudes and be-
liefs that relate directly to the content of a text, other readers have found that there
are consequences of reading that are more dramatic and wide-ranging: changes
in their sense of self. Sabine & Sabine (1983) interviewed 1,843 library users as a
part of the “Books at Made the Dierence” project. ey found that their inter-
viewees considered the books they read to be powerful instigators of self-change.
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Ross (1999) found that 60% of readers who read for pleasure (N = 194) found
reading to be a personally transforming experience. While lovers of literature may
report a profound change in their sense of self as a result of their reading experi-
ences, it is hard not to be skeptical. Aer all, personality is oen dened by its sta-
bility, and while it can change across the lifespan (Roberts, Walton & Viechtbauer
2006), this change is likely to be gradual with a diverse number of causes. Per-
haps avid readers incorrectly believe their transformation resulted from reading,
whereas the true cause lies in other life experiences not tied to experiences with
ction. Perhaps readers inhabit story characters so thoroughly that they think of
themselves (incorrectly and temporarily) to be more like these ctional persons.
Perhaps their denition of transformation is so broad and vague that it includes
any change in opinion or outlook. Perhaps other texts, not only literature, would
have as transforming an eect. And even if their self-assessment was correct, who
is to say that those literary works that aected them would also aect others?
In order to examine the contribution of literary texts to personality change,
Djikic, Oatley, Zoeterman, and Peterson (in press) brought 166 undergradu-
ates into a laboratory, and gave them a battery of questionnaires that included
a measure of personality traits (the Big Five Inventory; John & Srivastava 1999)
and a measure of current emotional state (including ratings of happiness, sad-
ness, boredom, anger, and contentment, among others). Participants were then
assigned to one of two conditions. ose in the Art” condition were given a
short story by Chekhov to read, entitlede Lady with a Toy Dog” (1899). In
the “Control” condition participants were given a control text, a rewritten ver-
sion of the story in a documentary format of a courtroom report of supposed
divorced proceedings. A great deal of eort was made to ensure that the story
and the transcript were nearly identical save for the form. e control text had
all the content of Chekhov’s short story, was exactly the same length, and was
of equivalent reading diculty. Moreover, aer reading both texts, participants
reported that the court report was just as interesting as the Chekhov story, but
not as artistic. Aer they had read either the Chekhov story or the control text,
participants were again given a battery of questionnaires, including the same
personality and emotion measures administered initially. A sensitive index of
personality change was created such that each post-score was regressed on the
pre-score, and the absolute distances were summed to create a composite of per-
sonality trait change across all ve traits for each individual. e results showed
that personality trait change for the participants in the Art condition was sig-
nicantly greater than the change for the participants in the Control condition.
Further analyses revealed that this change in personality was mediated by the
emotions that participants experienced while reading.
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Chapter 8. Eects of reading on knowledge, social abilities, and selood 1
While it might seem surprising, this study demonstrates that turn-of-the-
century prose by Chekhov can make university undergraduates experience and
report themselves as more dierent than those who read a documentary–style text
with the same content, complexity and potential to garner reader interest. It shows
that reading literary art can have an eect even on non-avid readers, and that you
do not have to be a booklover for reading to transform you. We hypothesize that
the eect involves a soening of what are usually the rather rigid boundaries of
our self-schemas. By projecting ourselves into ctional stories and the minds of
ctional characters, we open ourselves up to greater possibilities for who we may
become. It is important for us to stress that participants did not show a collec-
tive change in the same direction: not all of them became more extraverted, or
open, or conscientious, for example. In other words, they were not persuaded by
a moral embedded in a story. Rather, each reader experienced a unique uctua-
tion in their entire personality prole. Reading Chekhov induced changes in their
sense of self – perhaps temporary – such that they experienced themselves not as
dierent in some way prescribed by the story, but as dierent in a direction toward
discovering their own selves. Whether this eect can also be realized with other
sorts of ction has yet to be investigated.
Is it possible that, over months and years of reading, we could sum and consol-
idate such small, and perhaps temporary, changes of the kind we have found here
to create movements in the development of selood? Our nding with Chekhov’s
story prompts us toward believing the claims by avid readers that their favorite
literary works have transformed their lives and changed their personalities. We
might even start to think of literature in particular, and art in general, as func-
tionally related to human personality development. Might we perhaps take this
functionality as a clue to the longevity and persistence of art across millennia of
human civilization?
.  Conclusion
Although approaching literature by way of empirical study is sometimes seen as
reductive, we argue this is not the case. As Willie van Peer has shown in his own
career, it is possible to make systematic inquiry into the qualities of literary art
and its inuence without diminishing the value of ctional literature. Just as an
attraction to stories seems to be intrinsically human, so is a curiosity and wonder
about the world and the objects in it. Our love of literature and our curiosity about
it do not lie in opposition, but are part of the same whole in much the same way
our hearts and our minds happily co-exist. But more than that, in our own bodies,
our heart could not exist without our mind and vice versa. Although we would not
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go so far as to say the same holds true for our love and curiosity about literature,
we do feel that the two exist in a mutually benecial relationship. Our love for
literature drives our curiosity, and our curiosity constantly reveals new wonders of
literature that serve to magnify our devotion and admiration.
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... However, fiction is fundamentally different from real interactions, and thus these systems are argued to act upon it in a distinctive "offline" manner; therefore, fiction reading is widely discussed as a simulation activity (Oatley, 2011). Mar, Djikic and Oatley (2008) posit that we are adept at understanding single, step-by-step processes (such as clouds forming and leading to rain), but poor at understanding complex interactions between multiple processes (such as the interactions of different weather systems). For the latter, we require simulations. ...
... By bypassing our defences, fiction reading may be a more powerful agent of change than nonfiction. Mar, Djikic and Oatley (2008) also note that readers commonly self-report changes to themselves as a result of books they have read. Furthermore, they have demonstrated experimental evidence of change to participants' personality trait profiles following the reading of a short story, mediated by emotion (Djikic et al., 2009b). ...
... He therefore argues that literature 'subjunctivises', making the world less fixed and less banal, and as a consequence, it makes us more open to intuition. This argument has also been put forward by many other researchers investigating the impacts of fiction reading (Mar et al., 2008;Miall, 2001;Oatley, 2011). The findings from this research project therefore support this pathway from the strangeness of fiction, to openness, and extend that openness into CT. ...
Thesis
This thesis presents research into the relationship between reading fiction, as distinct from nonfiction, and critical thinking. Critical thinking is framed in the context of information literacy research. Prior research has shown increased fiction reading to be associated with social (Mumper & Gerrig, 2017), as well as cognitive and imaginative (Black et al., 2018; Oatley, 2011), capacities. These capacities are also associated with critical thinking (Byrne, 2016; R. H. Ennis, 2015; Thayer-Bacon, 2000). Thus, reading fiction may increase factors which in turn yield changes to critical thinking. To explore this potential relationship both normatively and subjectively, a sequential mixed methods approach was adopted. Four studies were conducted: one, an observational survey study assessing correlations between reading and factors associated with critical thinking; two, a reading log with pre- and post- critical thinking assessment, and experimental manipulation of assigned reading, testing a causal relationship; three, a reader interview study exploring experiences of reading and critical thought; four, a reading diary study exploring the day-to-day interplay of reading and critical thinking experiences. In conjunction, the four studies revealed: fiction reading was associated with experiential engagement in critical thought, while nonfiction was connected to the building of knowledge and procedure of critical thinking; fiction reading was predictive of disposition towards, change in, and improvement to critical thinking; nonfiction reading in long sessions was associated with improvement, but many short engagements were detrimental to critical thinking; assigning fiction reading to nonfiction readers was shown to be an efficacious critical thinking intervention. These findings suggest fiction is a utile resource for developing critical thinking, and as such imply that the inclusion of fiction as part of information literacy and wider arts and humanities education, and across society through public library provision, is valuable.
... Na primjer, ono potiče razvoj kognitivnih sposobnosti, prije svega pažnje, pamćenja, mišljenja, kreativnosti i govora te utječe na socioemocionalni i moralni razvoj pojedinaca (Čudina-Obradović, 2003;Javor, 2009;Oatley, Mar i Djikic, 2012). Čitanje tako pridonosi razvoju samopoimanja, empatije i teorije uma, čime omogućuje bolje razumijevanje sebe i drugih (Fong, Mullin i Mar, 2013;Mar, Oatley i Djikic, 2008;Oatley i sur., 2012;Stansfield i Bunce, 2014).Također, čitanje je važno i stoga jer učenicima može olakšati nošenje sa školskim zahtjevima, što pokazuju istraživanja koja su utvrdila povezanost čitanja u slobodno vrijeme i školskog uspjeha (Delač Horvatinčić i Kozarić Ciković, 2010;Hughes-Hassell i Rodge, 2007;. ...
... Važnost emocionalne kompetentnosti za stavove učenika o čitanju također je bila očekivana i potvrđuje postavljene hipoteze. Prethodna istraživanja pokazala su kako čitanje omogućuje čitateljima da se projiciraju u druge svjetove i na taj način simuliraju socijalna iskustva (Mar i Oatley, 2008), što im može pomoći u boljem razumijevanju sebe i drugih (Adrián, Clemente i Villanueva, 2007;Fong i sur., 2013). Čitanje tako može pomoći učenicima u razvijanju njihove emocionalne kompetentnosti koja odražava sposobnost uspješnog prepoznavanja i razumijevanja svojih i tuđih emocionalnih stanja (Davies, Stankovi Roberts, 1998;Mayer i Salovey, 1997;Mayer i sur., 2004). ...
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Dobrobiti čitanja opće su poznate. Kad je međutim riječ o čitanju, a posebice o čitateljskim navikama mladeži, često se u stručnim i znanstvenim krugovima i u javnosti govori o krizi čitanja. Stoga je odgoj mladih čitatelja jedan od izazova koji se postavljaju pred današnju školu na koji je, kako to pokazuju dobra iskustva iz nastavne prakse, moguće uspješno odgovoriti. Imajući to u vidu, provedeno je istraživanje kojem je bio cilj utvrditi primjere dobre prakse u motiviranju adolescenata na čitanje. Postupkom intervjuiranja ispitane su nastavnice Hrvatskoga jezika, vrsne mentorice, koje sustavno potiču čitanje kod učenika. U skladu s tim ponuđene su preporuke za promicanje čitanja u odgojno-obrazovnome procesu
... As an assertion common to the benefits of reading, fiction might be described as a route to or form of simulation that runs on minds and enables complex interactions in the social world. The theory for the simulation of social worlds has been carefully proposed and could form a basis for effects between improved EA and active engagement with fiction (Mar, Djikic, & Oatley, 2008;Oatley, 2016). Neuroanatomical evidence also supports the notion that fictional arcs induce a proxy simulation of events in the story world that concurrently represent, relate, or accord to the activities of the character(s) in question. ...
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Reading literature contributes to the development of language skills and socioemotional competencies related to empathic responding. Despite implications for improving measures of empathy used by practitioners interested in reading behavior and their applications to teaching empathic skills through literature, extensions to the ability to express empathic inference of interpersonal encounters, or empathic accuracy, remains an understudied area. Comparing which traits are associated with performance on tasks that require empathic accuracy could reveal more about underlying empathic processes and their characteristics for the benefit of practitioner tools and pedagogical choices for reading. Two studies were conducted to investigate possible relationships between self-reported constructs of interpersonal reactivity and an experimental paradigm that measures empathic accuracy. Experiment 1 investigated these relationships among participants having everyday conversations, and Experiment 2 examined the same variables in a context designed to emulate a counseling setting. In both cases, scores on the Fantasy self-report scale correlated with empathic accuracy scores. The results indicate that a tendency to consume fiction and engage in narrative transportation might play a role in the ability to accurately infer the internal state of others. Implications for reader involvement as learner engagement and consequential validity for instructional scaffolds are discussed.
... Na primjer, ono potiče razvoj kognitivnih sposobnosti, prije svega pažnje, pamćenja, mišljenja, kreativnosti i govora te utječe na socioemocionalni i moralni razvoj pojedinaca (Čudina-Obradović, 2003;Javor, 2009;Oatley, Mar i Djikic, 2012). Čitanje tako pridonosi razvoju samopoimanja, empatije i teorije uma, čime omogućuje bolje razumijevanje sebe i drugih (Fong, Mullin i Mar, 2013;Mar, Oatley i Djikic, 2008;Oatley i sur., 2012;Stansfield i Bunce, 2014).Također, čitanje je važno i stoga jer učenicima može olakšati nošenje sa školskim zahtjevima, što pokazuju istraživanja koja su utvrdila povezanost čitanja u slobodno vrijeme i školskog uspjeha (Delač Horvatinčić i Kozarić Ciković, 2010;Hughes-Hassell i Rodge, 2007;. ...
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Monografija Čitanje u ranoj adolescenciji financirana je u sklopu Erasmus plus projekta Boys reading koji je dobio dvogodišnje financiranje za razdoblje od 2014. do 2016. godine i provodio se na tri razine: međunarodne suradnje u prijenosu ideja dobre prakse, implementaciji dobre prakse i istraživanju glavnih postavki i rezultata implementacije dobre prakse. Lista autora čiji su radovi sastavni dio ove publikacije ukazuje na različita područja znanstvenog bavljenja. Različite studije prikazane kroz poglavlja ove znanstvene monografije rezultat su istraživačkih aktivnosti koje su se provodile u okviru projekta Boys reading, ali i neovisnih studija koje su se u istom vremenskom razdoblju provodile u Republici Hrvatskoj. Sadržajno, ova monografija namijenjena je znanstvenicima, istraživačima, nastavnicima i studentima koji se bave područjem pismenosti, motivacije i uključenosti u čitanje, postignućima u čitalačkoj pismenosti i rodnim razlikama s obzirom na motivaciju i čitalačka postignuća. Monografija je podijeljena u tri dijela i njima pripadajuća poglavlja. Prvi dio uključuje četiri poglavlja s radovima o poticanju čitanja i stavovima prema čitanju. Drugi dio posvećen je temi poticanja čitanja kroz kurikulum i uključuje tri poglavlja, dok se u trećem dijelu u koji su uvrštena tri rada progovara se o čitateljskim navikama studenata te ulozi medija u razvijanju čitalačke pismenosti.
... Studies generally show that empathy is negatively associated with nonfiction, which implies that the genre is not as effective as fiction in generating empathy (Mar, Djikic, & Oatley, 2008). However, writer Nicola Morgan posits that narrative non-fiction also has the capacity of building empathy, because they often contain stories, people, emotion and character. ...
Research
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Empathy is the ability to understand and share other people's feelings. Research has shown that reading literary fiction can help foster empathy. So far, however, very little, if none at all, has been done to find out if nonfiction can have similar effect. This study has been focused on this problem thru the analysis of Grade 12 students' responses to selected personal narratives written by marginalized or often misunderstood individuals (e.g. members of LGBTQ+ or Filipino Muslim community, victims of domestic abuse, welfare recipients). An exploratory research design with a qualitative approach through open-ended questionnaires and occasional unstructured interviews was used. Results were anchored on the narrative transportation theory, which explains how an individual can be cognitively and emotionally engaged and immersed in a story. Respondents reported feeling empathy towards the authors, while others said that they once went through similar experiences. It was concluded that nonfiction, particularly well-written personal narratives, has potential in developing feelings of empathy. Findings of this study are relevant to integrating civil values in reading instruction.
... Cohen, 2004;Oliver, 1993;Mares, Oliver, & Cantor, 2008). Nevertheless, such relationships may hold real consequences both for a person's social world and inner life (Mar, Oatley & Djikic, 2008, Koopman, 2015. Parasocial relationships may foster not only identification (Mar et al., 2011), but can also eventually lead to processes of 'self-formation' (Gibson, 2007): that is, people may pick up and incorporate aspects of the personality and the mannerisms of a fictional character in their own life. ...
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This study focuses on the meanings fans ascribe to the death of fictional characters. Previous research on this topic has been predominantly quantitative in nature, concerned with correlations between the consumption of fictional narratives and people's coping mechanisms and attitudes. In contrast this paper provides a contextualized account of how the mourning of fictional characters works in practice by revealing the underlying meaning making process of this kind of grief and exploring how this is related to people's everyday lives. By analysing 15 in-depth interviews, this article concludes that these respondents actively utilise fictional narratives of death for reflecting on personal loss; contemplating unexperienced situations and feelings, and more generally, coping with the prospect of death.
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This study investigated readers’ experiences of critical thinking and reading, comparing fiction and nonfiction. As previous research has shown links between fiction reading and increased social and cognitive capacities, and such capacities are argued to be necessary for critical thinking, this study sought to explore a potentially unique relationship between reading fiction and critical thinking, as distinct from nonfiction. In depth interviews were conducted with participants who self-identified as readers ( N = 12). Each reader was interviewed twice, first in a general discussion of their reading and critical thinking experiences, and secondly with reference to a text they selected to read. An open, iterative coding process yielded 10 codes from the data, forming five categories. These show links between reading experiences and critical thinking, the integration of critical thought into the reading experience through transportation into the text, and also differentiate fiction from nonfiction influences. Nonfiction was valued for its directness, assessable authorship, and questioning. Fiction was found to uniquely drive critical evaluations through the subtle and circuitous way it presented ideas, its complication of veracity, as well as giving rich and deep understandings of the real world. These findings suggest fiction reading experiences are connected with critical thinking in ways distinct to nonfiction, and as such could be an avenue for promoting critical thinking across society through public library provision.
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The purpose of this article is to explore the idea of inclusive pedagogy as social justice that serves to develop the inclusive potentials of community media by strengthening the professional capacity of journalists and increasing the quality of media content. Recent official media discourse analysis conducted in Croatia has shown a number of problems in media coverage of vulnerable social groups. The existing media approach desensitizes the public to the specific problems such groups face, and in such way indirectly contributes to their social exclusion. Within this problem framework, a unique program of additional courses for journalists has been created aiming to build their intercultural competences for lifelong learning in promoting and applying desirable patterns of tolerance and social inclusion in their work. This service-learning courses will primarily sensitize journalists to the rights of vulnerable groups and further develop their professional competences for the appropriate media presentation of vulnerable groups, especially the ex-prisoners, in order to increase their visibility in society, raise public awareness of their rights and increase equal opportunities to work. Keywords: academic service-learning; community media; social inclusion; social justice; vulnerable groups
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Fiction literature has largely been ignored by psychology researchers because its only function seems to be entertainment, with no connection to empirical validity. We argue that literary narratives have a more important purpose. They offer models or simulations of the social world via abstraction, simplification, and compression. Narrative fiction also creates a deep and immersive simulative experience of social interactions for readers. This simulation facilitates the communication and understanding of social information and makes it more compelling, achieving a form of learning through experience. Engaging in the simulative experiences of fiction literature can facilitate the understanding of others who are different from ourselves and can augment our capacity for empathy and social inference. © 2008 Association for Psychological Science.
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This book presents an account of the relationships among novel reading, empathy, and altruism. Though readers' and authors' empathy certainly contribute to the emotional resonance of fiction and its success in the marketplace, this book finds the case for altruistic consequences of novel reading inconclusive. It offers instead a detailed theory of narrative empathy, with proposals about its deployment by novelists and its results in readers. The book engages with neuroscience and contemporary psychological research on empathy, bringing affect to the center of cognitive literary studies' scrutiny of narrative fiction. Drawing on narrative theory, literary history, philosophy, and contemporary scholarship in discourse processing, the book brings together resources and challenges for the literary study of empathy and the psychological study of fiction reading. Empathy robustly enters into affective responses to fiction, but its proper role in shaping the behavior of emotional readers has been debated for three centuries. The book surveys these debates and offers a series of hypotheses about literary empathy, including narrative techniques inviting empathetic response. It argues that above all readers' perception of a text's fictiveness increases the likelihood of readers' empathy, by releasing readers from their guarded responses to the demands of real others. The book confirms the centrality of narrative empathy as a strategy, as well as a subject, of contemporary novelists. Despite the disrepute of putative human universals, novelists from around the world endorse the notion of shared human emotions when they overtly call upon their readers' empathy. Consequently, the book suggests, if narrative empathy is to be better understood, women's reading and popular fiction must be accorded the respect of experimental inquiry.
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