Knowing exactly what your man is thinking is a skill honed through years of practice. But if you think that you still have a long way to go, you could sharpen your mind-reading skills with a little help from Alexandre Dumas or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Apparently, reading good books could help you “read” minds better, or at the very least, understand another person’s thought process more. In a recent feature on Science Daily, researchers from The New School for Social Research say that literary fiction may enhance certain social skills that are vital in complex relationships.

Ph.D. candidate David Comer Kidd and his advisor, psychology professor Emanuele Castano, worked with a group of participants who underwent a series of trials in order to see how reading different kinds of books could affect Theory of Mind (ToM), which researchers refer to as “the complex social skill of ‘mind-reading’ to understand others’ mental states.”

The participants were asked to read one book from one of three genres: literary fiction, popular fiction, and nonfiction. ToM skills were then tested using different measures, one of which involved looking at black-and-white photos of actors and describing the emotions they exhibited through their eyes.They found that those who read literary fiction had higher ToM scores compared with those who read popular fiction and nonfiction, as the said stories feature complicated characters and scenarios that require deep analysis and creative thought.

So if you want to be in tune with your partner, pick up a good book. The mental exercise may improve your mind-reading skills, which would definitely come in handy in any relationship.

(Photo by Francisco Osorio via Flickr Creative Commons)

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