ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 434-442.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00434

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How does literature reading affect readers’ Theory of Mind?

CHEN Lijuan, XU Xiaodong()   

  1. School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China
  • Received:2019-06-11 Online:2020-03-15 Published:2020-01-18
  • Contact: XU Xiaodong


Literature reading can not only improve readers' literary accomplishment, but also affect their psychological and cognitive states. However, although an increasing number of experimental studies have been carried out, the question of whether the literature exposure can improve reader's Theory of Mind (ToM) still remains unsolved. To this end, we review recent experimental studies of the relationship between literary reading and ToM, and analyzes the reasons underlying the inconsistency from the perspective of text genre and individual differences. On this basis, the potential mechanism underlying the influence of literary reading on ToM abilities is proposed: the Mirror Neuron system and the Default Network are possibly to be the crucial neural basis.

Key words: literature reading, Theory of Mind, narrative perspective, empathy