Can Reading Impact Your Social Skills?

Do you think reading could positively impact your social skills? According to a study done by The New York Times, it’s true. In the study, the researches conducted tests to two different groups of people (who they gave different genre books to) and assessed them on their social traits. The tests distributed measured “empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence.”

When the study concluded, the researchers determined that literary fiction readers showed more empathy compared to non-literary readers who did not score as well. Interestingly, those who read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, did not score better than those who read nothing at all before the exam was distributed. In the researchers eyes, it makes sense that literary fiction readers scored best because that genres “novels often depict emotional subtleties and nuances,prompting readers to make inferences about the characters.”

“The researchers determined that literary fiction readers showed more empathy compared to non-literary readers who did not score as well.”

Throughout life, I believe to be socially equipped is very necessary. To me, being socially equipped means to not only have the ability to carry a conversation and talk to new people, it also means your traits.

In the article, it discusses the qualities the tests given measured. Emotional intelligence, in my opinion, is a huge part of being social. It means to be able to be in control of your emotions and handling them accordingly. Empathy is understanding one’s feelings and social perception is your way of viewing a situation.

In my opinion, these are all qualities that are very important and will help you to become more social. Personally, I think reading could impact one’s social skills vastly. Before reading this article, I was a little skeptical. But once I discussed it with my classmates, and thought about it more in depth, it makes a lot of sense to me. I think this “reading reason” could benefit everyone at any age, and should definitely be an inspiration to read. All of the traits measured in this test could really benefit me all throughout my life.

When discussing this article with my class, many of my classmates made very good points and asked very good questions.  Sam opened the conversation with, “I think reading in general improves your social skills” she also added, “I think you can talk all the time and not have as good social skills set as someone who will listen to you and talk to you and we all know that person who will not shut up and they won’t get the social cues, they don’t get the body language, they don’t get any of it”.

Mrs. Zucker contributed with, “I think Sam raises a good point, extraversion is just one quality of emotional intelligence as well as social skill sets”.

Noah added, “Part of being social is listening and part of understanding a book is listening [to the character] and I think emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with that as well, like trying to understand yourself in the shoes of a friend or a person, also a character in the book.”

Brian got people thinking when he asked, “Did they measure the social skills of people who don’t read books for this? Because you said it argues that reading makes you socially equipped, like if you are going to compare it to people who don’t read books, I feel like there should be a study that says this person is more socially equipped than this person who doesn’t read books.” Many agreed with this point.

Nicole said, “I know people that read a lot and they are so intelligent and when you speak to them they do have amazing social skills because they read well so I do think if you read a lot if effects your social skills but not by reading one book.”

Thomas added, “Reading will also give you something to talk about with people and create a community.”

Noah concluded the conversation with, “Overall, reading will help your understanding of people and being able to respond and interact.”

In conclusion, the class all seemed to understand the study and have a lot of questions and comments on this topic, and even concluded that they want to try this study themselves!

Works Cited

“Study: Reading Will Improve Your Social Skills.” The Cut. N.p., 04 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2016



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