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Scientific Study of Literature 6:1 (2016), 42–58. doi 10.1075/ssol.6.1.04kidissn 2210–4372 / e-issn 2210–4380 © John Benjamins Publishing CompanyOn literary fiction and its effectson theory of mindDavid Kidd, Martino Ongis and Emanuele CastanoDepartment of Psychology, The New School for Social ResearchStorytelling is a hallmark human activity. We use stories to make sense of theworld, to explain it to our children, to create communities, and to learn aboutothers. This article focuses on fictional stories and their impact on complexsociocognitive abilities. Correlational and experimental evidence shows thatexposure to fiction recruits and hones our ability to represent others’ mentalstates, or theory of mind (ToM). Experimental studies suggest this effect isspecific to literary fiction. Using a unique set of texts, we replicate the findingthat literary fiction improves ToM performance. Consistent with the expecta-tion of greater focus on characters in literary fiction, linguistic analys...