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Forthcoming article: 

Turner, R. (in press). Fiction, Empathy and the Material World [Advances in Neuroaesthetics: Narratives and Art as Windows into the Mind and Brain.] Journal for Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, 47


Fiction may function to support human social interaction by cultivating empathic abilities. The past decade has yielded promising evidence in support of this theory, though the multidimensionality of both fiction-engagement and empathy have presented methodological challenges and led to mixed findings. Studies have tended to focus on reading and have generally treated cognition as a solely internal process. I position empathy and engagement with fiction as ontologically extended processes. I argue that further systematic exploration of fiction technologies would promote a comprehensive and culturally relevant account of the relationship between fiction-engagement and empathy and enhance understanding of its cognitive architecture.



Keywords: Empathy, fiction, social cognition, extended mind, material engagement theory 


Latest Publications 

Turner, R. & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2023). Challenges of measuring empathic accuracy: A mentalizing versus experience-sharing paradigm. British Journal of Social Psychology, 62, 972-91. 

Turner, R. & Kasperczyk, H. (2022). Space for the unexpected: Serendipity in immersive theatre. In W. Ross & S. Copeland (Eds.), The art of serendipity: insight, innovation and inspiration (pp. 101-25). Palgrave Macmillan.

Previous and associated publications

Bardey, A., Medhiratta, U., & Turner, R. (2023). Fashioning the future generation: Generation Z Indian consumers’ attitudes towards Western and Indian Fashion. In F. Brooksworth, E. Mogaji, & G. Bosah (Eds.). Fashion marketing for emerging economies (Vol II): Strategies, tools and insights for fashion brands. Palgrave Macmillan. 

​Bardey, A. C., & Turner, R., Piccardi, P. (2022). Bargaining our Emotions: Exploring the lived experience of purchasing luxury fashion counterfeit. Strategic Change, 31, 505-14.


Noon, E. J., & Turner, R. (2022). The European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations Junior Researcher Programme: A reflection from two research project supervisors. PsyPAG Quarterly, 122, 44-7.

Turner, R. & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2020). Fiction effects on social cognition: Varying narrative engagement with cognitive load. Scientific Study of Literature, 10, 96-130.


Turner R. & Noon, E. J. (2019). The European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations Junior Researcher Programme: A review from two research project supervisors. PsyPAG Quarterly, 113, 44-6.


Turner, R., & Felisberti, F. (2018). Relationships between fiction media, genre, and empathic abilities. Scientific Study of Literature, 8, 261-92.


Turner, R. & Felisberti, F. M. (2017). Measuring mindreading: A review of behavioral approaches to measuring “theory of mind” in neurologically typical adults. Frontiers in Psychology.


Koch, T., Turner, R., Smith, P. & Hutnik, N. (2010). Storytelling reveals the active, positive lives of centenarians.Journal for Nursing Older People, 22, 31-6.

Koch, T., Smith, P., Turner, R., & Hutnik, N. (2010). Storytelling with UK Centenarians. Guildford, UK: University of Surrey Press.

Invited Talks and Selected Conference Presentations

Turner, R. (2024). Material engagement in the dynamic relationship between fiction and empathy. Paper presented at the International Conference of Three Societies on Literature and Science, Birmingham, UK. 

Shah, A-N. & Turner, R. (2023). You are what you wear: The psychology of fashion in medicine. Paper presented at London College of Fashion, London, UK. 

Turner, R. (March 2021). Reading other minds: The relationship between fiction and empathy. Goldsmiths University, London, UK.

Turner, R. (December 2020). Preparing for the academic job market. Kingston University Advanced Research Methods Society, Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK. 

Turner, R. (June 2019). Fiction and empathy: A multidimensional approach. SOAS, London, UK.

Turner, R. & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2019). Immersion in fictional stories and empathic accuracy: Methodological challenges. Paper presented at the British Society of Literature and Science, Surrey, UK. 


Turner, R. (2019). Fiction and empathy in the digital age: The effects of digital and non-digital modes of fiction-engagement on empathic abilities. Paper presented at EFPSA, Lithotopos, Greece.

Turner, R. (2018). Associations between fiction media and genre engagement, and empathic traits. Paper presented at the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media, Stavanger, Norway. 


Turner, R. & Felisberti, F. M. (2017). Fiction matters: Divergent links between fiction media exposure, genre preferences and social skills. Poster session presented at APA Convention, Washington, DC. 

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