People come together to watch television all the time. On the other hand, reading books is mostly considered a solitary hobby. Why? Because books speak to you on a personal level. How you interpret the story and its contents is largely influenced by your own unique life experiences.
Although you can join book clubs to discuss the story and its characters, reading is more enjoyable when you do it on your own. It’s for this particular reason that bookworms are often portrayed as socially awkward. However, that stereotype is completely unfounded.
Bookworms Are Natural Empaths
According to one study, voracious readers of fiction actually develop stronger social behavior and are more empathic than their peers.
Researchers asked 123 people about their reading or television habits and were also asked to specify which genres they were more likely to read – comedy, non-fiction, romance or drama.
Each participant was then asked to take a social skills test, which included questions such as: How often do you consider other people’s points of view versus your own? Or, Do you go out of your way to actively help others?
Book Readers More Social Than TV Lovers
You might think that those who prefer watching television would display more sociable behavior. After all, it’s more likely that two people will be able to talk about having watched the same show versus having read the same book.
However, the results showed quite the opposite. In book readers versus T.V. watchers, the book readers came out on top when displaying more empathetic behavior. They also found that those who mainly watched television actually displayed more anti-social behavior.
What’s interesting, as noted by researcher Rose Turner was that “all forms of fiction were not equal.”
- Fiction readers showed the best social skills.
- Readers of comedy were the best at relating to people.
- Romance and drama lovers were the most empathetic and most skilled at seeing things from another person’s point of view.