Reading and empathy... the two may not sound related at first but when you dig a little deeper they have a strong connection. Reading, and especially the reading of literary fiction, has been studied and proven to strengthen an individual’s empathy towards others. How does this happen, and what can we learn from it to apply in our own lives?
Helps You Identify and Read the Emotions of Others
Studies have shown that when you spend time reading literary fiction, it assists you in learning to identify the emotions of others. Becoming absorbed in a book and then in a particular character’s role builds your sense of empathy, and causes you to understand the situation from their viewpoint. Once you build your capacity to identify other individuals’ emotions, you will begin to read them better.
Reading gives you a unique viewpoint, often from right inside the character’s mind. This helps you to see the world through eyes other than your own. If you have trouble reading others’ emotions, try spending at least a short time each day reading fiction.