Readers are Nicer People, According to Science

Monday, May 15th, 2017

We've always thought our customers are some of the nicest people you're ever likely to meet.  Now we've got the science to back it up!

According to a study performed at Kingston University and presented at the British Psychological Society conference in Brighton this month, people who prefer reading over other forms of entertainment, like television or plays, had better interpersonal and social skills than their less literary counterparts. 

Want to work on your people skills? Grab a book.

The study covered all sorts of interpersonal skills, from being able to see things from someone else's point of view, to considering others' feelings, to actively being helpful to others.  Across the board, readers tended to outperform non-readers in the social sphere, but there were also some interesting variations among readers of different genres.

Fans of comedy were typically the best at relating to others, while those who prefered drama and romance were more empathetic and could easily see things from several points of view.  People who were fans of fiction in general had the widest range of positive social skills, perhaps since fiction gives such a range of opportunities to encounter different personalities and points of view.  “The findings support previous evidence that exposure to fiction relates to a range of empathetic abilities," said Rose Turner, the study's lead scientist.

The one caveat to the study is that relationships like these can't actually demonstrate causality--that is, the study doesn't show whether reading more makes you a nicer person, or if nicer people are drawn to reading more than other forms of entertainment.  Either way, though, it's proof enough for us that all the readers who visit us, both in-store and online, really are some of the best people you're likely to meet, and it makes for a great excuse to pick up a few more books!