A recent study finds that if you like a character in a book, you may start to turn into that character

When you “lose yourself” inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behavior and thoughts to match that of the character, a new study suggests.

Researchers call this phenomenon “experience-taking.”

The study found that you are more likely to lose yourself if the fictional character is similar to you.

I guess that is why parents fret so much about the books, movies and video games their kids play.  I sort of hope people buy into this and worry about whether I may go Lisabeth Salander on them.  Either way, it is an interesting theory.

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~ by siouxsielaw on August 14, 2012.

9 Responses to “A recent study finds that if you like a character in a book, you may start to turn into that character”

  1. I’m a little worried because I love murder mysteries and true crime adventure.

  2. i wonder what this says about me- haven’t gotten into fiction since law school. does this mean i can’t “take” experiences? i do at least have an obsession with resident evil. and i’d love to be more like alice.

  3. We have three kids playing minecraft together and it can be very interesting to listen to their conversation by the dinner table. They talking about stealing the other ones bed, walking in to the others house or hitting each other. Well sometimes they do nice things to each other on the game as well. It can be a bit confusing though.
    I wish I was strong and clever like Lisbeth but I would never change my life with hers.

    • Aww, that sounds like a fun household. It would be interesting to know whether the “experience-taking” concept is more common with kids than adults.
      I guess you make a good point about Lisbeth. Maybe by reading about her we can get her strong/clever qualities without her experiences!

  4. It’s interesting there is now a study to say this. I have been identifying with characters and using their experiences to explain my own life for years.

    • I agree, I find it so interesting that this is being identified as some type of psychological event. I always thought I was just really into a book, not that I was subconsciously changing. Weird, but cool.

  5. It’s even creepier when real people are the subjects, rather than characters in books. I’ve seen people who are total personality leeches – apparently possessing few thoughts or interests of their own, they just completely emulate whoever they admire at the moment. I mean, we all do that to some point, but I’ve seen people take it waaaaaaay too far…

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