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Why Fiction Matters, Performing Under Pressure

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 17, 2015
  • 01:44:36

Why Fiction Matters (0:59) Guests: David Kidd, postdoctoral fellow at The New School for Social Research in New York. He's also the lead author on "Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind" Stephen Tuttle, BYU English professor specializing in creative writing, fiction writing, and American Literature According to research done at The New School for Social Research in New York, reading fiction has the power to make you more empathetic. Maybe even improve your interpersonal skills.  So today, we’re delving into the power and purpose of fiction. Why read it? How does it influence us? Is one brand of fiction better for society than another? “The research has shown that fiction gives you more empathy," says Dr. Kidd. “One thing that we are particularly interested in is not so much deciding what sort of fiction is better or worse. That’s really up to the individual reader to decide what they like. But, we’re interested in the consequences of engaging with different fictional worlds. One of the things social psychologists study is how different social environments impact how we perceive other people, how we perceive ourselves, and what sorts of things that we value. And, one of the things that interested me as a researcher, was how much time we spend in fictional worlds that operate using some of the rules that make the real world work. We’re interested in whether or not the sources of the fictional world we engage with affects what we pay attention to and how we interpret things in our real world environment.” “This research of Dr. Kidd’s certainly confirms something that I am inclined to believe and absolutely squares with what I find as a teacher. What I’ve found in the classroom is that there is something that happens to a student when we ask them to read texts on their own, outside the class. They understand to a certain degree what’s going on in the text and large chunks of plot. And, as we start to talk about text and break down what’s going on, I think they realize that the text has had an impact on them that they were not aware of.  Something that’s happening under the surface. That they are thinking through much larger, ethical and moral problems," says Tuttle. Performing Under Pressure (52:11) Guest: Hank Weisinger, co-author of "Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most." He is a psychologist and a leading expert on emotional intelligence. Michael Jordan is the very definition of a "clutch player." Every sport has them. Businesses have them too-the person who rises to the occasion, who pulls a rabbit out of a hat in the nick of time to save the day. We generally think that without the intense pressure of that moment, the amazing accomplishment might not have happened-and the story takes on mythical proportions in the re-telling. But according to psychologist Hank Weisinger, that's all the theory is-a myth. He points to study after study showing NOBODY does better under pressure. Rather, it undermines your performance and the best you can hope for is to manage its harmful effects. That is the crux of the new book Dr. Weisinger has co-authored with J.P. Pawliw-Fry called "Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most." Show More...

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