Electric Literature cites a new study which "found that readers of literary fiction — but not commercial fiction — have a better understanding of other people’s emotions."

Yeah, unless there's a scientific method to determine the difference between commercial fiction and literary fiction, this sounds like bunk to me — the kind of easy study which enforces preconceived notions about art and commerce. But if there's one damn thing the internet loves, it's using scientific studies to enforce their own preconceived notions.

So if you see someone on Facebook trying to spread this study around, please ask some questions: what's the difference between literary and commercial fiction? If you read a work that is 75% commercial and 25% literary, are you then 25% more empathetic? Is Kurt Vonnegut commercial fiction or literary fiction? What about comics? What the hell are you supposed to do with the conclusions of this study, except feel smug if you happen to prefer literary fiction to commercial fiction?