Monday, August 11, 2014

Reading and Improved Empathy in Children

More research shows the connection between reading literature and improved empathy -- leading to more moral attitudes and actions. Raymond Mar shows this connection specifically with children and children's literature.

But he also shows a connection between children watching movies and improved empathy -- which does not translate to watching T.V. One would think that a story is a story, but apparently not. It would be interesting to learn what the differences are between T.V. shows and movies that make such a difference in creating empathy. Are there structural differences? Is it because T.V. shows divide your time with commercials, as the article suggests? Is it a difference in complexity? Or just the fact that people are more likely to discuss what happened in a movie than what happened in a T.V. show?

If the difference is in whether or not a discussion of the story has taken place, that ought to be easy enough to test. Surely there are readers who don't discuss what they read whose empathy we can compare to readers who love to discuss what they read.
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