Daily Mail

Does reading make you nicer?

- By Rosie Taylor

HAVING your nose in a book might seem a little antisocial at times – but reading could actually make you a kinder, more empathetic person, a study has found.

readers were more likely to act in a socially acceptable manner while those who preferred watching television came across as less friendly and less understand­ing of others’ views, researcher­s said.

The 123 participan­ts in the study were quizzed on their preference­s for books, TV and plays at Kingston University, London. They were then tested on interperso­nal skills, such as how much they considered people’s feelings and whether they acted to help others.

researcher­s told the British Psychologi­cal Society conference in Brighton yesterday that fiction fans showed more positive social behaviour.

readers of drama and romance novels were also empathic, while lovers of experiment­al books showed the ability to see things from different perspectiv­es.

Comedy fans scored the high- est for relating to others. The study suggested reading allows people to see different points of view, enabling them to understand others better.

The researcher­s added: ‘Exposure to fiction relates to a range of empathic abilities.

‘Engaging with fictional prose and comedy in particular could be key to enhancing people’s empathic abilities.’

However, the authors warned the study did not prove causeand-effect. So it could be that reading causes positive behaviour, or it could be that thoughtful, well-mannered people are more likely to prefer reading.

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