By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
You know what’s probably crossed everyone’s mind? Superpowers! They’d be great to have, especially running at the speed of light and having super strength. Let’s be honest though, unless a vat of radioactive materials is lying around somewhere, there’s zero chance of ever having super skills, right?
Actually, scientists from The New School for Social Research say there’s a simple way to read people’s minds – all you have to do is pick up some well-written books to read!
How did they figure this? Well, the researchers recruited a group of participants and had them read three different story genres: fiction, non-fiction, and literary fiction. After they finished, the scientists tested volunteers on their Theory of Mind – how well they could but themselves into another person’s shoes and understand what they were feeling and thinking.
Surprisingly there was a common trend across all 5 experiments; if the participants read literary fiction (well-written books with complex characters), they could understand another person’s mental state much better than volunteers that read the other two genres!
What is it about the books that gave readers such a strong understanding of other people’s thoughts? According to the lead researchers of the study, “Just as in real life, the worlds of literary fiction are replete with complicated individuals whose inner lives are rarely easily discerned but warrant exploration.” In other words, reading a story is similar to being in real life situations, so reading is kind of like having more chances to understand another person.
And there you have it kids. If you really want those superpowers you’ve dreamed about your whole life, it’d be in your best interest to pick up as many books as you can and read the heck out of them all!
Featured image courtesy of Image of mind reading man courtesy of pixlfarmer on Flickr.