Reading Harry Potter May Make You A Better Person

Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

Photo Courtesy of Telegraph

A group of Italian psychologists believe that children who identify with Harry Potter might develop greater empathy and tolerance toward people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including refugees, immigrants and gay people, reported NPR’s Shankar Vedantam.

The Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling came out nearly 20 years ago with 7 books and 8 movies reported. Their fanbase is commonly called, Potterheads.

The researchers tested three groups of young people from elementary school-age through university students and found that the Potterheads were more accepting. But while the researchers used Harry Potter as a benchmark, Vedantam says it might say more about how a good story changes the way you think.

“I think it points to one of the more interesting ideas in fighting determination…which is that the most effective way to do it is not through rational thinking and conscious effort but through narrative and storytelling. When stories allow us to empathize with people who lead very different lives or come from very different backgrounds, it allows us to get into their shoes in a way that no amount of preaching can accomplish,” stated.