How Reading Fiction Shapes Your Psyche

How Reading Fiction Shapes Your Psyche

Are you a person who roams about platform number 9¾ , looking for Hogwarts Express, in 7 parts amazingly brilliant ‘Harry Potter’ series, or you keep wondering how dystopian world of George Orwell in ‘1984’ strikes relevance till date! Chick-lits are your favorite past time or you get hopelessly romantic with every ‘Noah-Allie’ story, or, ‘Gone girl’ make you bite nails, on ‘ Ghost story’ send chills down your Spink, or simply you love classics, and Macbeth Soliloquy is by heart to you.

If any of these points marks a tick for you, then hello there!

Reading is widely accepted as one of the most popular hobbies across the globe. Fiction comes out as the most read form of literature. As known, reading is a form of entertainment, enriches information, enhances language comprehension, enlarges vocabulary and imparts valuable knowledge. Apart from theses, as researches suggests reading also effects to shape our psychic dispositions.

Reading a fiction indulges an individual in a narrative and our mind go through an entire array of thoughts, feelings and emotions while we read. Although reading as a task mechanically requires movements of eyes only, it changes the mind to perform several processes, which results as the satisfaction & knowledge. An article on ‘open Education, database’ enumerates several process.

Visual imagery gets automatically prompt. This makes reader imagine new, different worlds, with the proceeding of story. Remember, Harry potter, ever before the movies were made or we saw them, we visualized the whole world of Hogwarts with word pictures only! That’s true for every word on page of every book we come up with.

Also, OEDB article mentions that our mind undergoes same neurological Stimulations if it is a real experience or just reading about it. Structure of the story, be it short or a novel, have a beginning, middle and end. This structure help our brains to think in sequence and derive casual effect. Also, it consciously instills the capacity to expand attention span. Fictional literature is designed to pull more readers because many a times, it is able to create connection to experiences, aspirations or imaginations for the readers.

With deep reading, readers establish strong connection with main characters and empathize with them in the process.

• Reading fiction develops a stronger social cognition by letting you explore the world of characters and experiences social situations with them. In real life, this social cognition often find play in our interactions and overall improving social skills.

• It enables the reader to empathize with ups and downs of storyline. This in turn makes us more empathetic in real world, becomes more alert and aware to live of others.

• Reading is an indirect communication too. It encourages readers to draw inferences about how the character must be feeling, observe the indirect clues and gain experiences which not always in real life one can get. Thus, it helps develop analytical skills.

• It boosts emotional intelligence. According to studies published in the Public Library of Science, the Journal of Research in Personality and The European Journal of Communication Research, people who read literary fiction show higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence and turned out pro at being able to interpret other people’s emotions.

Openness to experience is the fifth of the “Big Five” personality traits that psychologists believe make up our basic dispositions. In the same way, reading affects openness to experience and hence the personality. Learning about other’s inner state by reading fiction, may also let us explore ourselves and change what we don’t find right.

• With diverse genres of fiction, books open up the mind and increases creativity. It helps you think of alternative, creative solutions because it strengthens your imagination.

• Reading is also a kind of motivation and works wonders as de-stressing.

• Since reading helps one keep well informed, it builds the confidence and subsequently empowers the self-esteem.

• Fiction allow you to forget about your day-to-day troubles and to transport yourself to a fantasy world, providing pleasure and acting as a mood lifter.

As long as reading continues, reading fiction will do. The common agreement about effects of reading fiction or reading in general is acceptance of reading as a subjective experience, carving out the best or at times unwelcoming facet of the individual. It’s an art which is not just engaging but also have long lasting effects on our psyche.

Leland Ryken quotes,

“It is untrue that fiction is nonutilitarian. The uses of fiction are
synonymous with the uses of literature. They include refreshment, clarification of life, self-awareness, expansion of our range of experiences, and enlargement of our sense of understanding and discovery, perception, intensification, expression, beauty, and understanding. Like literature generally, fiction is a form of discovery, perception, intensification, expression, beauty, and understanding. If it is all these things, the question of whether it is a legitimate use of time should not even arise.”

Rightly so, fiction has an extensive bearing on our lives and interestingly, vice versa. You must have heard, a reader lives thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only once. So happy reading!

About the Author

Divya Pathak
Student.

Ms Divya Pathak has done her Masters in Psychology.

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