...Or at least a more empathetic one, according to studies carried out by Buffalo Univeristy, USA.
The trick seems to lie in reader's absorption into fictional stories, and the tendency for readers to emulate the 'situation' of the characters in their novels, indicating that on some level, they can 'put themselves in their characters' shoes... or, in other words, have some empathy towards that character.
"It is the first empirical finding, so far as I know, to show a clear psychological effect of reading fiction," says Keith Oatley, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto.
"It's a result that shows that reading fiction improves understanding of others, and this has a very basic importance in society, not just in the general way making the world a better place by improving interpersonal understanding, but in specific areas such as politics, business, and education. In an era when high-school and university subjects are evaluated economically, our results do have economic implications."