Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Karl Bailey

Abstract

This study drew predominantly from previous work on the relationships of narrative and non-narrative texts with empathy and social reasoning. It has been posited that fiction -- due to the parallels between narrative texts and the social world -- may help readers maintain if not cultivate their social skills, whereas readers of non-narrative material may not have this benefit. This project attempted to both replicate and extend this pattern in a Seventh-day Adventist Christian sample by using instruments employed in previous research as well as a set of Bible-based instruments. Correlational analysis and nested linear regression were used to examine the relationship between how subjects preformed on measures of narrative and non-narrative exposure (the Author Recognition Test and Bible Verse Recognition Test) and their social acumen (the Interpersonal Reactivity Index and the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" Test-revised.) Despite mixed results, there was strong evidence for a relationship between recognition of Biblical characters and identification of emotional states in other people. An implication of this study is that, for an Adventist population, exposure to religious narratives may play a role in how social reasoning develops.

Subject Area

Fiction., Social psychology., Imagination in literature., Imagery (Psychology)

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