Connecting With Fictional Characters: The Power of Books

Charlotte Webber (Lead / Corresponding author), Katherine Wilkinson, Lynne G. Duncan, Sarah P. McGeown

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Books have the power to take us on great adventures, immerse us in fantasy worlds, change our points of view, scare us, and make us laugh or cry. The characters bring the stories to life and join us on the journeys through the pages of our favorite reads. But have you ever thought about what might be happening in our brains when we let Harry Potter or Bella Swan take us on a fictional adventure? Psychologists have come up with some ingenious techniques to measure how we connect with characters in books, and they are still discovering how fictional characters might help us better understand ourselves and others. By conjuring up vivid images of different characters and letting us connect or empathize with them, books help us explore our own identities and put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Our favorite characters really can take us on the most incredible journeys!
Original languageEnglish
Article number658925
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers for Young Minds
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022


  • reading acquisition
  • Reading motivation
  • adolescence
  • psychological wellbeing
  • identity
  • fiction
  • book reading
  • youth empowerment


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