It’s official: reading makes you a nicer person

I think we’ve always known that reading is a qualitatively different (by which I mean better) way of getting your entertainment than watching TV, say, but now it’s official. Kingston University student Rose Turner has conducted research that proves that regular readers of novels are kinder with better social skills than those who get their fiction via boxsets. The reason, she says, is that reading is a personal experience which deeply engages you in the imaginative process: 

‘When we read we go by what is simply written on the page and we have to fill in the gaps as we go along, giving us a chance to develop empathic skills as we try to understand what a character is going through. Whereas when we watch something, we are provided with a lot of that information already… [Reading] is not just a source of escapism but also a chance to imagine how somebody else sees the world.

I’d love to see the research on whether writers are kinder people than non-writers too: I’d like to think so.

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