The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Potter Lessons

by The Loh Down On Science

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The second book in the Harry Potter series. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press

Welcome to Harry Potter and The Chamber of . . . Tolerance?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Harry Potter’s not only powerful enough to defeat Voldemort, he can also fight bigotry!  So says a series of studies from England and Italy.

Meet researcher Loris Vezzali.  In one study, he and colleagues had 34 Italian schoolchildren answer a questionnaire about immigration.  

After that, they met with a researcher to read excerpts from the Potter books.  One group focused on passages about prejudice and bigotry; the other read unrelated sections of the book.

The children then answered more questions about immigrants.  Results?  Kids who had read the bigotry-based Potter passages showed an increase in empathy towards immigrants.  Especially those who identified with Harry.  

The team did two similar experiments:  One with high school students and their views on homosexuals.  And another with college students and their views on refugees.  After a bit of Potter, attitudes changed faster than the flick of a quidditch stick!

I guess you could say the results were just . . . magical.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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