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.
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