Thursday, July 21, 2016
Trump versus Harry Potter
Your impression of the the Republican presidential candidate may be influenced by whether you’ve read a Harry Potter Book.
So says a new study to be published in the special election issue of PS:Political Science and Politics. Titled “Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald,” the study found that approximately equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and Independents have read Harry Potter books, but for each book read, respondents’ impressions of Donald Trump were reduced by two to three points on a 100 point scale. The effect was nearly cumulative; for those who had read all seven books, their estimation of Trump could be diminished by 18 out of 100 points.
“It may simply be too difficult for Harry Potter readers to ignore the similarities between Trump and the power-hungry Voldemort,” writes the study’s author Diana Mutz, PhD, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Actually reading the books was key; watching Harry Potter movies had no effect on opposition to Trump. Read more here.
Reading fiction, but not non-fiction, seems to help people develop empathy.
“Similar to people who improve their flying skills in a flight simulator, those who read fiction might improve their social skills. Fiction might be the mind's flight simulator,” says researcher Keith Oatley in the Trends in Cognitive Sciences journal. Oatley’s team tested the ability of people to read the expression in 36 images of people’s eyes. Those who read fictional books scored significantly higher. Read more here.
The finding was similar to research we reported on in InHealth, showing those who watch high-quality TV drama are more empathetic.
Grab your reusable market bags and head to the third-annual Spokane VegFest this Saturday. Enjoy live music while you learn more about an “animal-friendly lifestyle,” and browse the offerings of more than 100 vendors and exhibitors. At 2 pm, Rich Roll, one of 2009’s 25 Fittest Men in the World, according to Men’s Fitness magazine, will talk about his vegan lifestyle. Spokane Community College from 10 am to 6 pm.