If you (like so many of us) find yourself acting slightly awkward in social situations, it may help to pick up some fine works of fiction. Gone are the days when someone with her nose stuck in a book was automatically labelled a bookworm and judged to be lacking in social skills. Instead, this interview with cognitive psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley reveals his findings that reading fiction can often help people adapt better to social interactions in th
e real world. Click here to listen to the 3-minute clip.
Here's the gist of it, and apologies for any inaccuracies in the transcription:
In what way might it be true that fiction is good for you?
People think of bookworms as avoiding social interaction. But actually, reading helps you to open yourself up to the world. Well in particular the social world. Because the way we think of it, movies, fiction, books, are like a flight simulator…because there you would encounter a whole lot more situations. You're living a rich life, and an interesting life, outside your own… therefore it's bound to increase your experience, or your second-hand experience of the world.
So if, like some people I know, you think that reading fiction is a waste of time, then here's your answer! (This and so, so many more. I won't get started.)