Yet another study finds reading fiction makes us better persons:
“During the act of reading engaging fiction, we can lose all sense of time. By the final chapter of the right book, we feel changed in our own lives, even if what we’ve read is entirely made up.
Research says that’s because while you’re engaged in fiction — unlike nonfiction — you’re given a safe arena to experience emotions without the need for self-protection. Since the events you’re reading about do not follow you into your own life, you can feel strong emotions freely.
The Dutch study found that good fiction—the kind that sucks you in with characters you can identify with—can have a lasting effect on a person’s expression of empathy. Bad fiction, the kind you can’t really get into, has exactly the opposite effect.”