In this post I will make a couple of comments about the article “The Relationship Between Empathy and Reading Fiction: Separate Roles for Cognitive and Affective Components” (Journal of European Psychology Students, 5(3), 9-189, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/jeps.ca).
- The study distinguished between cognitive and affective empathy. For the purposes of this article they called cognitive empathy “the ability to understand the world from another person’s point of view and to infer beliefs and intentions” (9). Affective empathy they defined as “the capacity to share another’s feelings and emotions” (9).
- They had a great works cited page, showing a lot of work already being done.
- A key hypothesis they wanted to test whether “prior exposure to the reading of fiction is positively associated with cognitive empathy abilities but not affective” (10).
- They kept refining their work with fiction, eventually coming to privilege the term ‘transport’ in talking about reading fiction. They had a list of questions designed to measure how much transportation happened.
- Their questions were interesting, and would be a good way to proceed with games.
- Their list of limitations offered lots of places for more studies to go…and they questioned their own chicken-and-egg scenario (do people who are empathetic read or does reading develop empathy?). They also questioned their small sample size and choice of text.
- Lots of possibilities to follow up on here, including work on games and empathy…