I read a fascinating research report from The Wall Street Journal on March 8th. According to a study published by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, reading fiction can improve one’s social skills or social cognition.
The Harvard University study involved 16 women and 10 men ages 19 to 26. They underwent MRI scans of their brains while reading excerpts from novels and magazines.
The fiction readers showed enhanced activities in regions associated with reading about people, and such enhanced activity was linked to higher scores on social cognition assessments.
This could explain why I love my fans, my book club discussion groups and writer conferences–because the people are so interesting.
You can read more about the study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/377