by The Vidette Editorial Board
The list of excuses that people make in order to avoid reading is getting longer by the day. Hectic schedules, schooling, family and friends are among some of the excuses used because it is hard to argue against the importance of these elements of human life.
With that being said, according to a study described by an article from TIME.com, reading has far more importance to us than we previously thought.
People might want to reorganize their schedules (and stop making excuses) to participate in what the study describes as “deep reading.”
Deep reading is essentially reading a fictitious novel for pleasure, as opposed to superficial reading, which describes processing information via social media, the internet and so on. According to the article, Raymond Mar, psychologist from York University in Canada, described the benefits of deep reading. He found that individuals who regularly participated in deep reading were able to empathize with others easier than those who do not read. Readers also displayed stronger social skills and a keener sense of people’s true intentions.
So, why does research suggest this is true?
Fictional novels create immersive worlds that readers can easily lose themselves in, similar to how television shows grab on to their viewers. Characters feel real, as well as the situations these characters have to face. Depending on the richness and detail of the writing, the reader begins to interpret this fictitious world as if it were happening in real life. The reader begins to create relationships with characters, emphasizing with them along the way.
The reader questions the morals of the characters, and compares them to his/her own. Because of this, the reader is caught in a realistic moral debate with the fictitious characters. This is a strenuous exercise for the brain, and therefore increases our ability to empathize with others in a “real” setting, according to the TIME.com article.
The importance of reading is astounding. Empathy makes the world a better place, and the key to a more understanding world could be as easy as picking up a book now and then.
So, if reading is so beneficial to us, why is it becoming a lost art?
As stated before, people are busy. College students like us are juggling part time jobs and class, while adults have full-time careers and children to raise. But, these are just excuses. Everybody has a little time to open a book before he or she goes to bed.
However, some people are not readers. These people simply do not enjoy reading. According to Maryanne Wolf, the director for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, “Human beings were never born to read.” So, it is understandable that some people are averse to reading. Nevertheless, human beings should be thankful that this evolutionary skill has been such an important part of our recent history, and take advantage of it as much as possible.
With technology becoming more and more prevalent, the importance of reading has dwindled within the general consensus, even though new research drastically states otherwise. Most people probably had no idea that reading was this beneficial. Maybe because of this new research, many more individuals will give recreational reading a second chance in hopes of being entertained with the byproduct of improving as a person.
Give reading a chance. As the saying goes, “Everyone is a reader, they just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”