The Psychology of Fiction - Keith Oatley

May 2, 2014

We all love the feeling of getting lost in a good story and seeing the world through a character’s eyes.  Recently, psychologists have been studying whether that experience actually changes readers. Novelist and cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley tells us about the latest research connecting fiction with empathy.



Human psychology is an important science that has as its object the most complex and mysterious thing we know of.

For this reason, conclusions drawn by experimental psychology are also the most frequently overturned and generally the crummiest in all the sciences.

Interesting area to study, but needs much more study. Seemed that all but one of the experiments turned up a mere correlation: couldn't we also read the results as saying that people with (already) higher empathic skills are the people more likely to read fiction?