Now We Have Proof Reading Literary Fiction Makes You a Better Person - The Wire
According to the study, the results clearly show that "reading literary fiction temporarily enhances [Theory of Mind]. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art."
Our contention is that literary fiction, which we consider to be both writerly and polyphonic, uniquely engages the psychological processes needed to gain access to characters’ subjective experiences. [ . . . ] Readers of literary fiction must draw on more flexible interpretive resources to infer the feelings and thoughts of characters. That is, they must engage ToM processes. Contrary to literary fiction, popular fiction, which is more readerly, tends to portray the world and characters as internally consistent and predictable. Therefore, it may reaffirm readers' expectations and so not promote ToM.
I believe it. And so does the Boston Globe:
While the BG article speaks of the greater societal implications/platform of Fiction, the Atlantic piece touches on the specific differences in effect of Literature vs Popular, which mirrors the difference between Edge/Outsider Art and Mainstream Pop. Both are really good insights.