Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Psychol Gen. 2018 Nov;147(11):1713-1727. doi: 10.1037/xge0000395. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

Fiction reading has a small positive impact on social cognition: A meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Institute for Technology in Psychiatry, McLean Hospital.
2
Department of Psychology, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University.

Abstract

Scholars from both the social sciences and the humanities have credited fiction reading with a range of positive real-world social effects. Research in psychology has suggested that readers may make good citizens because fiction reading is associated with better social cognition. But does fiction reading causally improve social cognition? Here, we meta-analyze extant published and unpublished experimental data to address this question. Multilevel random-effects meta-analysis of 53 effect sizes from 14 studies demonstrated that it does: compared to nonfiction reading and no reading, fiction reading leads to a small, statistically significant improvement in social-cognitive performance (g = .15-.16). This effect is robust across sensitivity analyses and does not appear to be the result of publication bias. We recommend that in future work, researchers use more robust reading manipulations, assess whether the effects transfer to improved real-world social functioning, and investigate mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
29481102
DOI:
10.1037/xge0000395

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center