Most people know that stories are powerful. From fables to parables, from nursery rhymes to ballads, stories can touch the hearts and minds of people. What is it about stories that can make them so powerful?
Neuroscientists armed with brain scans of people who have recently read fiction, are working to answer that question. It turns out that reading fiction enhances connectivity in the brain and promotes empathy and something called “Theory of Mind.” Theory of Mind is the concept that others have different points of view from your own and may experience different emotions than you do. By improving Theory of Mind, reading fiction may actually help readers literally step into the shoes of the protagonist – on a neurobiological level. This implies that reading fiction may be linked to compassion.
Help the children in your life develop empathy and Theory of Mind by reading stories to them. By building connections in the brain linked to compassion, fiction may literally change reality!