Have you ever had the experience of stepping away from a novel and finding yourself thinking a little bit like the main character would? I’ve often described the feeling as being a little “book-drunk”, but I usually only experience it with really great novels. It seems to be worse when I read all or most of a book in one session.
According to a story over at GalleyCat, scientists have completed a study that verifies that this experience is a common one, and that the actions of fictional characters can actually influence the decisions we make – whether we consciously realize it or not. They call the phenomena “experience-taking”, and it’s very real.
Researchers exposed students to stories about students voting told in third-person and first-person tense, both written to encourage voting, and followed up later to see which group had the highest number of students who went to the poll.
Here’s what they found: