How To Get Sensitive: Read Romance Novels
Excellent news: Researchers have discovered how even the most insensitive lout can move a couple of notches closer to deep sensitivity. The Atlantic reports that researchers at Canada’s York University examined the possibility that the genre of fiction someone prefers could affect their interpersonal sensitivity, positing that “each fiction genre is likely to provide a distinctive conceptual framework through which readers construct meaning about the social world.” Participants were shown a list of authors, whose work included fiction, romance, sci-fi/fantasy and suspense/thriller. They were then tested for sensitivity, by viewing black and white photos of actors’ eyes, and identifying which of four possible mental states the actor was portraying. The Atlantic reports that fiction readers showed more sensitivity than nonfiction readers, and those who read romance had particularly high sensitivity scores. Read an abstract of the study here.