Volume 18 Num. 3 - October 2018
Associations between Fiction Reading, Trait Empathy and Theory of Mind Ability
Volume 18 Num. 3 - October 2018 - Pages 357-370
Angel Javier Tabullo , Violeta Araceli Navas Jiménez , Claudia Silvana García
THIS PAPER IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR SUBSCRIBERS. IT WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE IN OPEN ACCESS ON October 1st, 2019.
Several studies suggest a link between fiction reading and Theory of Mind, a component of cognitive empathy which refers to the ability to understand other people’s mental and affective states. More frequent fiction readers perform better in tasks that require inference of intentions or emotions in others, like the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task. In addition, subjects who read a fiction text obtain better scores than controls reading non-fiction. Since most of this research has been conducted on caucasic subjects, cross-cultural replication of the effect is still needed. The present study is the first to investigate the subject in a Latin American sample (208 adults -137 females-, ranging from 18 to 59 years old (M= 27.66). We replicated the association between lifelong exposure to print fiction and performance in the Reading the Mind in the eyes task, but the effect was only significant in men. The association remained significant after controlling for age, education level and self-reported Trait Empathy scores. The results are congruent with the hypothesis that reading promotes Theory of Mind ability by engaging mentalizing processes in order to represent the thoughts and feelings of fictional characters. The sex difference we observed had not been reported before and requires further replication and analysis.
How to cite this paper: Tabullo AJ, Navas-Jiménez VA, & García CS (2018). Associations between Fiction Reading, Trait Empathy and Theory of Mind Ability. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 18, 3, 357-370.
No keywords specified for this article
More articles in this volume
- [257-271] Brain Activation for Effort in Human Learning: A Critical and Systematic Review of fMRI Studies
- [273-287] Psychometric Properties of the Generalized Pliance Questionnaire -Children
- [289-300] Faking a Race IRAP Effect in the Context of Single versus Multiple Label Stimuli
- [315-330] Emotional-Evolutional Model of Social Anxiety in University Students
- [331-343] Differentiation between Defensive Personality Functioning and Psychopathology as Measured by the DSQ-42 and MMPI-2-RF
- [345-356] Early Emotional Memories and Borderline Symptoms: The Mediating Role of Decentering
- [371-384] The Evolving Definition of Cultural Competency: A Mixed Methods Study