In The Minds Of Others: Reading fiction can strengthen your social ties and even change your personality is the title of a Scientific American article. It discusses the effect that empathy can have on readers. I discuss how I use this idea with my students, as well as share other research on this topic, at The Best Resources On “Becoming What We Read.”
You can only read the beginning of the article for free, and have a pay a few dollars to gain access to the entire piece. I think it’s worth it. Here’s how it sums up the research conclusions:
1. Reading stories can fine-tune your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings.
2. Entering imagined worlds builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person’s point of view.
3. A love affair with narrative may gradually alter your personality—in some cases, making you more open to new experiences and more socially aware.