Perhaps it’s due to the way movies and television programs portray bookworms, but people who like to read are often portrayed as socially awkward. Interestingly enough, a new study shows that reading fiction can actually improve your social skills [PDF] . Here’s why.
Susan Cain, and expert on introversion, elaborates:
This could of course be correlation rather than causation — maybe the kind of person who likes fiction is more empathic to start with — but the researchers think not. They believe that there’s something about exposure to fiction — the direct immersion in another person’s mind and body — that stimulates our empathic muscles.
So while it’s entirely possible for fiction lovers to be shy and appear to lack some social skills, it’s also possible that they’ve developed a great ability to empathise with others that isn’t entirely apparent. If you’re a bit shy and love to read fiction, the good news is that you might be more socially adept than you realise.
How Reading Improves Your Social Life [Psychology Today]