Making kids nice.

Neil Wagner offers a tip:

[A]ccording to Ohio State researchers, the books you read from childhood on can also change who you are. They do this by a process the researchers called experience taking. More than just understanding a character, it’s taking a little of them inside of you and changing yourself in the process…

The more a character has in common with you, the easier it is to identify with them. For this reason, experiments in race and gender have revealed that it’s easier to identify with a character whose differences come out late in the story. Heterosexual students reading a tale of a gay man reported greater experience taking and a significantly more favorable attitude towards gays after reading a tale where the character was revealed to be gay late in the story. The effect was much weaker when the character was identified as gay earlier in the tale. They also seemed to react less stereotypically to the character, rating him as less feminine and less emotional than readers of the gay-late version did.


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