It is news sure to please muggles and wizards alike. According to a research article published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, one of the greatest benefits of reading the Harry Potter series is increased empathy and tolerance.
The article’s authors, a quintet of Italian psychologists, studied children who read the series and closely identified with the main character. These researchers found that young children who identified with Harry Potter are likely to empathize with people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
According to NPR’s Shankar Vedantam, this empathy more than likely stems from author J.K. Rowling’s depiction of Harry’s troubled upbringing. Furthermore, since Voldemort represents an “oppressive” force, children aligned with Harry and his friends are more likely to support those being “oppressed.”
Overall, the researchers concluded their work by stating what some may find to be obvious—storytelling and emotional appeals often work better with impressionable minds that “rational thinking” or conscious efforts. Science seems to underscore the fact that what children read matters. If you want them to grow up to be empathetic adults, then hand them Harry Potter.
Featured image via West Info.