Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4372
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4380
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Social cognition, the skillset involved in interpreting the cognitive and affective states of others, is essential for navigating the social world. Research has indicated that reading about fictional social content may support social cognitive abilities; however, the processes underpinning these effects remain unidentified. This study aimed to examine the effect of narrative engagement on social cognition. A text pretest ( = 11), a manipulation pilot ( = 29) and full experiment ( = 93) were conducted. In the full experiment, the manipulation failed to vary levels of narrative engagement (transportation, identification and affective empathy) with a passage from a popular fiction text. A correlation analysis revealed positive associations between narrative engagement dimensions and social cognition. An exploratory between-groups analysis comparing reading to no-reading found a significant gain in explicit mental state attribution in the reading group, when controlling for demographic and dispositional differences.


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