The Moral Laboratory: Experiments Examining the Effects of Reading Literature on Social Perception and Moral Self-concept
The idea that reading literature changes the reader seems as old as literature itself. Through the ages philosophers, writers, and literary scholars have suggested it affects norms, empathic ability, self-concept, beliefs, etc. This book examines what we actually know about these effects. And it finds strong evidence for the old claims. However, it remains unclear what aspects of the reading experience are responsible for these effects. Applying methods of the social sciences to this particular problem of literary theory, this book presents a psychological explanation based upon the conception of literature as a moral laboratory. A series of experiments examines whether imagining oneself in the shoes of characters affects beliefs about what it must be like to be someone else, and whether it affects beliefs about consequences of behavior. The results have implications for the role literature could play in society, for instance, in an alternative for traditional moral education.
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adultery affect readers Algerian women analysis analysis of variance argued awareness beliefs causal caused changes Chapter characters Chekhov children's literature cognitive commit adultery consequences consider differences diffuse version discussed effects of literature effects of reading effects on readers emotions empathic response essay ethical reflection evidence expected experiences experimental groups female fictional world Flerx focalization focused versions Galvanic Skin Response goals hypothesis imagine inferences involved Kuiken literary texts Madame Bovary manipulation moral development moral effects moral judgment Moral Laboratory moral self-knowledge motives negative norms and values Olga outgroup participation perceive placebo position possible posttest pre-ethical effects present problems psychological reading literary narratives reading literature reading narratives reading stories reading the stories role-taking scores secret affairs self-concept sex-role significant situation social distance social learning social perception Social Psychology stimulate studies suggest tion treatments understanding Utrecht University variables women in Islamic