by Jini Stolk
A good friend told me about a fascinating interview on CBC’s The Sunday Edition with the Director of the Self-Development Laboratory at the University of Toronto. (minute 47, for keeners)
Maja Djikic’s work is on the transforming effect of art on personality. It’s an old idea that’s become lost in our material age: that reading, looking at or making art, or playing music makes you a better person. New research by psychologists such as Djikic are discovering that the transformative impact of arts experiences on social abilities and personality are increasingly being backed up in the laboratory.
These are things we all know in our hearts from personal experience but have trouble arguing convincingly. Is fiction capable of prompting empathy in readers?Absolutely.
I’m going to be working with the Toronto Arts Foundation on compiling the most powerful statistical and other research we have about the arts in Toronto. I’ll be talking to those of you who are gathering important information about your disciplines or sectors, and I know I want to meet with Dr. Djikic and her colleagues at the Self-Development Laboratory.