Institut Jean Nicod

Accueil > Séminaires/Colloques > Archives > Séminaires > 2014-2015 > Colloquium > Emanuele Castano (New School for Social Research, New York)

Emanuele Castano (New School for Social Research, New York)


Event conjointly organized by Institut Nicod and LINGUAE team

Friday, October 24th at 11:30am at Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, Ecole normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.

Emanuele Castano
Professor of Psychology and Director, Cognitive, Social & Developmental Psychology, The New School for Social Research, New York

Fictional Minds, Actual Worlds: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind

Abstract: Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies. Yet little research has investigated what fosters this skill, which is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), in adults. We present five experiments showing that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of affective ToM (experiments 1 to 5) and cognitive ToM (experiments 4 and 5) compared with reading nonfiction (experiments 1), popular fiction (experiments 2 to 5), or nothing at all (experiments 2 and 5). Specifically, these results show that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances ToM. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art.