Research suggests that both life-time experience of reading fiction and the extent to which a reader feels ‘transported’ by the narrative are associated with empathy. This study examined these relationships further by delineating empathy into cognitive and affective components. Thirty-three participants were tested on prior exposure to fiction, transportation, and different measures of cognitive empathy, affective empathy and helping tendency. The results revealed that exposure to fiction was associated with trait cognitive, but not affective, empathy, while the experience of being transported was associated with story-induced affective empathy. Story-induced affective empathy was also associated with helping tendency. The results are discussed by considering implications for relationships between reactions to fictional worlds and reactions to real-world behaviours.
Stansfield, JBunce, L
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health
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