The "Novel" Approach: Using Fiction to Increase Empathy

Dora B. Rowe


Recent studies in a variety of disciplines have linked the reading of fiction specifically with measurable increases in empathy using both self-reported instruments and neurological examinations. Through a review of the recent studies and experimental evidence, the author contends that empathy can be trained using fiction through specific titles chosen and/or guided discussions. The act of transportation into the story and identification with the characters can lead to substantive changes in perception and world view. Therefore, fiction collections in academic libraries provide a needed resource and should be considered as such.


Fiction; Empathy; library services; collection development

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