Reading novels makes us better thinkers

When I first settled into grad school, I stopped reading and writing for fun.   Having to do so much of it every day for work, I put aside my journals and novels, and instead settled into the lazy bliss of TV watching.  I needed to lose myself in something so other from what I did on a daily basis.

This wonderful piece from salon.com, however, has me rethinking about the benefits of reading novels.

A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.

“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”

Bottom line: time to let the nerd flag fly.  Reading fiction needs to become part of my life again.

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