“Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.”
“So how does literature induce this ease with the unknown?”
Researchers have the answer:
“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal,“may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”
“The thinking a person engages in while reading fiction does not necessarily lead him or her to a decision,” they note. This, they observe, decreases the reader’s need to come to a definitive conclusion.
“Furthermore,” they add, “while reading, the reader can stimulate the thinking styles even of people he or she might personally dislike. One can think along and even feel along with Humbert Humbert in Lolita, no matter how offensive one finds this character.
“This double release—of thinking through events without concerns for urgency and permanence, and thinking in ways that are different than one’s own—may produce effects of opening the mind.”