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Reading fiction can cement relationships

Posted on Aug 12 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 12 : Reading works of fiction may improve your understanding of what other people are thinking or feeling, says a study.

"Even though fiction is fabricated, it can communicate truths about human psychology and relationships," said Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada.

"When people read stories we invoke personal experiences. We are relying not just on words on a page, but also our own past experiences," Mar explained.

"Social outcomes that could come out of being exposed to narrative fiction can include exposure to social content, reflecting on past social interactions, or imagining future interactions," he noted.

People understand stories using basic cognitive function, and there is not a special module in the brain that allows us to do this and, therefore, understanding stories is similar to the way we understand the real world.

"Experiences that we have in our life shape our understanding of the world and imagined experiences through narrative fiction stories are also likely to shape or change us," Mar added.

The research was recently presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd annual convention.

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