At least according to the Big Think article The Books You Read Really Make You Who You Are:
“The takeaway from all [the studies] is that no matter the culture, humans are intimately attached to stories. They’re part of our makeup as a species. Stories can literally transport us into the mind and body of a character. They can move us toward empathy or action. Nothing has the power to inform, change our minds, unlock our potential, or transform us and our society in the most powerful and profound ways. Now, we’re starting to unlock the neuroscience behind this and learn exactly how they impact us.”
If this is true, that what we read deeply shapes who we are, and my common sense detector, aka my gut, tells me it is, then in a nation where reading for personal interest has been in steady decline since 1978, we’re in big trouble.
But it certainly goes a long way in explaining our national empathy deficit…