According to a new study published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts readers of fantasy and science fiction genres have more a mature approach when it comes romantic relationships than those who read suspense, romance, or even highbrow literature.
"Individuals who scored higher for exposure to science fiction/fantasy were less likely to endorse four unrealistic relationship beliefs," pens a research team led by psychologist Stephanie C. Stern of the University of Oklahoma.
"Romance is not the only written fiction genre to be associated with real-world beliefs about romantic relationships."
Scientists recruited 404 adults, covering several genres of literature. During the experiment, participants responded to statements about relationships: "Disagreement is destructive; mindreading is expected; romantic partners cannot change; the sexes are different; and the expectation of sexual perfection."
Using a six-point scale, the subjects described how much they agreed with statements.
Results proved interesting.
Romance fiction readers were more likely to only believe that the needs and wants of the opposite sex are different.Meanwhile, readers of the classics only replied poorly to the idea that disagreement is destructive.
However, science fiction and fantasy fans were less likely to believe four of the five statements - sexual perfectionism, the only they agreed with.
"At least two of the specific beliefs (eschewed by sci-fi fans)—the belief that disagreement is destructive, and the belief that partners cannot change—are associated with maladaptive relationship attitudes, behaviours, and/or outcomes in the real world," write the authors.
The team, however, also acknowledge that those with more realistic views of romance are drawn to the genre.
Is it time to start reading Harry Potter again?