Relationships between fiction media, genre, and empathic abilities

Turner, Rose and Felisberti, Fatima M. (2018) Relationships between fiction media, genre, and empathic abilities. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(2), pp. 261-292. ISSN (print) 2210-4372


Fiction enables readers to simulate the social experiences of characters and may facilitate prosociality. Research has indicated that fiction print exposure positively relates to empathy and may promote altruistic behaviors. Whether associations hold across different media formats and thematic genres remains unclear. This study took a multidimensional approach to both fiction engagement and empathic abilities. Specifically, it aimed to replicate previous findings that lifetime fiction exposure positively predicts empathy, and to extend this literature through an exploration of the relationships between media and genre formats, empathy and altruism. Participants (N = 404) completed a multidimensional task measure of fiction media exposure and answered questions about fiction engagement, empathic and altruistic tendencies. Results showed divergent associations between fiction format, genre, and empathic abilities, and fiction media exposure positively predicted the tendencies to become transported into narratives and to help others. Engagement with fiction formats and thematic genres may differentially support adults’ prosocial development.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page