Reading Chekhov for a few minutes makes you better at decoding what other people are feeling. But spending the same amount of time with a potboiler by Danielle Steel does not have the same effect, scientists reported Thursday.

A striking new study found that reading literary fiction – as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction – leads people to perform better on tests that measure empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.

I Know How You’re Feeling, I Read Chekhov – NYTimes.com

This gives me an AWESOME idea! I’m going to design a study to investigate whether people who “perform better on tests that measure empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence” are more empathetic, socially perceptive, and emotionally intelligent.