For Chapter 2 we’re changing things up a bit and instead of focusing on a Current Event, we’re looking at a fun fact! Have you ever truly found yourself getting lost in a book that you are reading? Have you ever been so into that book that you actually started to act like one of the characters? Today our fun fact focuses on…
ACTING LIKE A FICTIONAL CHARACTER
One of the things that happens in Chapter 2 of The Prince and the Pauper is that, after hearing enough stories about princes, Tom Canty actually begins to act like a prince. So we at Pontes Books asked ourselves, can people really start acting like the fictional characters they read about? Keep reading or check out the video below to find out!
Did you know?
Reading a book told through the eyes of a fictional character can actually affect the way you interact with the world.
A study at Ohio State University found that it is possible to take on the personality traits of a fictional character in a book that you read. It’s called “experience-taking”. In doing this, we merge our own lives with the character that we are reading about.
One of the scenarios featured in the research study was a test to see different factors and the effect they had on people’s likeliness to vote. The way they did this was by having college students read short stories about characters who encountered certain obstacles to voting. The stories featured different scenarios, one of which being the university that the character attended. In some cases, the main character attended the same university as the student reading the story. In some cases, they attended a different university. In some cases, the story was written in first person, and in other cases it was written in third person. In the cases where students read a story where the main character went to the same university as them, and especially for the stories that were written in first person, the students were more likely to have actually voted in an upcoming election.
Now obviously there is no way to prove without a doubt that reading the story with a particular version of the story is what caused the students to go out and vote, but the study suggests that it likely played a part. This means that reading a fictional story can actually influence you to act like a character in a story (though obviously this is a different situation than what happens in The Prince and the Pauper). But the general principle can still be applied: fictional stories can have an effect on your real life.
Other Implications from the Study
In addition to those findings, there were some other implications that can be taken from this study:
- Your attitude toward people from particular groups (such as specific sexualities and races) can be influence by what you read.
- You are more likely to act like the character if you are from the same “group” as them.
- You are more likely to be empathetic toward people from another “group” if you find out their identity toward the end of the story, rather than right at the beginning.
- You are less likely to act or deeply connect to a character in a movie because it is not told in first person.
So the next time you are reading and you find yourself lost in a book, remember it could affect your life!
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