The New School for Social Research found that reading literary fiction strengthens skills essential to understanding other people’s mental states and the processing of complex social relationships. The researchers tested participants’ ability to attribute various mental states-- like beliefs, desires, and intentions--to both themselves and others. They conducted these tests after participants had either readliterary fiction, popular fiction, or non-fiction works. The authors reported that those who read the works of literary fiction scored better than members of the other two groups. They say that literary fiction, unlike popular fiction, requires intellectual engagement and creative thought from reader.