The Research Is in: Reading Harry Potter Makes Children Better Humans

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The world can be split up into many different categories but typically, we might say that there are two main groups of people, at least when it comes to Harry Potter fans. For some of those people, reading Harry Potter has never really been on the agenda but for many others, they not only read the book, they actually embraced it.

If you happen to be one of those people who doesn’t have a box set stashed away that your children will read when they get older, a new paper from the Journal of Supplied Psychology may just make you rethink your stance. As it turns out, children who read Harry Potter are actually a lot cooler than anyone else. According to the paper, those who read the book identify with Harry and tend to be more open-minded and less likely to have prejudice against minority groups.

The study looked into three different groups, fifth-graders, high school students and college students.

34 fifth-graders in Italy were asked to fill out a questionnaire about immigrants. They were then split into 2 different groups for a span of six weeks. One of the groups discussed the books and talked about bigotry and prejudice. The other group was a control group, and they discussed neutral passages. Six weeks later, the students in the group that discussed the deeper themes in the Harry Potter books also identified with Harry. They showed an improvement in attitude toward immigrants.

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The books are full of imaginative details, including how to mend broken bones without a cast or to use a love potion to make it smell differently for each of us. There is no doubt that there are many morals that run through the story.

The tale of Harry versus Voldemort tends to be a good versus evil part of the story. Yes, it has a lot of magic behind it and it is a nice part of the story but it is the system that exist in the Harry Potter world between the wizards and between other magical creatures that really tells the story. You can’t read the passages about Voldemort’s being obsessed over pure blooded wizards without thinking about Hitler and his ideas of a master race.

The house elfs also present a rather interesting twist to the story when the hero needs to get away quickly. In essence, however, they are slaves and they can’t gain their freedom until their masters grant it with the gift of clothing. Harry may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but it is how he sees others that really makes a difference. He tends to see everyone as an equal. When people identify with Harry, they are likely to feel the same.

Interestingly enough, it is not only the young children who felt differently after reading the books, the high school students also experienced a similar change. There were 117 high school students in Italy that were asked questions about homosexuals. They then were put into what they thought was a separate study and asked how many Harry Potter books they had read and which character they identified with the most. Those who felt connected to Harry had additional empathy and were likely to have a positive perception of those in the LGBT community.

Adults are also affected in this way, which may be surprising to many people. The study took place with a group of UK college students and they found that those who had less of an identification with Voldemort had a better impression of immigrants.

The next time somebody has an opinion about you reading Harry Potter books to your children, just tell them this interesting fact. Harry Potter can actually make a positive difference in your child’s life.

Via: Scary Mummy

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