The value of reading literary fiction over popular fiction [Article]

Research shows that reading literary fiction is more valuable in improving empathy.

Popular fiction tends to be focused on plot, says Emanuele Castano, professor of psychology, and the characters are rather stereotypical. “You open a book of what we call popular fiction and you know from the get-go who is going to be the good guy and the bad guy.” Literary fiction, in contrast, focuses on the psychology and inner life of the characters. And importantly, characters in literary fiction are left somewhat incomplete. Readers have to watch what they do and infer what they are thinking and feeling.

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