Einstein on Reading Fiction

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If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

– Albert Einstein

The Daily Mail isn’t normally my most trusted source for scientific literature, but they highlighted some research last year that seems to back up Einstein’s quote. Notably:

Furthermore, while reading, the reader can simulate the thinking styles even of people he or she might personally dislike. One can think along and even feel along with Humbert Humbert in Lolita, no matter how offensive one finds this character. This double release — of thinking through events without concerns for urgency and permanence, and thinking in ways that are different than one’s own — may produce effects of opening the mind.

The researchers suggest that reading then, is a way of becoming more open-minded. ‘Exposure to literature may offer a [way for people] to become more likely to open their minds.’

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