A new study claims that reading literary fiction, as opposed to pop fiction and non-fiction, increases our ability to better understand others' mental states or, as I see it, increases our ability to empathize.The study, which comes out of The New School for Social Research, claims that participants who were assigned literary fiction were better able to identify the emotions being portrayed by actors just by looking at black and white photos of their eyes.

As someone who frequently samples all three categories of writing I am, on the one hand, not surprised by the results but on the other hand and am shocked that such definitive results were gained having participants read for such a short period of time.  To read more, follow this link.