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Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes?

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Title: Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes?
Author(s): Rehman, Jalees
Subject(s): Racism Prejudice literature literary analysis psychology
Abstract: Reading literary fiction can be highly pleasurable, but does it also make you a better person? Conventional wisdom and intuition lead us to believe that reading can indeed improve us. However, as the philosopher Emrys Westacott has recently pointed out in his essay for 3Quarksdaily (1), we may overestimate the capacity of literary fiction to foster moral improvement. A slew of scientific studies have taken on the task of studying the impact of literary fiction on our emotions and thoughts. Some of the recent research has centered on the question of whether literary fiction can increase empathy. In 2013, Bal and Veltkamp published a paper in the journal PLOS One (2) showing that subjects who read excerpts from literary texts scored higher on an empathy scale than those who had read a nonfiction text. This increase in empathy was predominantly found in the participants who felt “transported” (emotionally and cognitively involved) into the literary narrative. Another 2013 study published in the journal Science by Kidd and Castano (3) suggested that reading literary fiction texts increased the ability to understand and relate to the thoughts and emotions of other humans when compared to reading either non-fiction or popular fiction texts.
Issue Date: 2014-04-28
Publisher: www.3Quarksdaily.com
Citation Info: Rehman, Jalees. Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes? 3quarksdaily. April, 2014. http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/04/does-literary-fiction-challenge-racial-stereotypes.html
Type: Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10027/21647
Date Available in INDIGO: 2017-05-03
 

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