A nifty new study says that you may be casting a spell on your kids by letting them read Harry Potter series—one that vamooses prejudice. Research just published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology finds that young people who J.K. Rowling’s book wildly popular book series are more likely to have improved attitudes toward stigmatized groups—especially when identifying with the protagonist. More from The Week:
The researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy noted that the books provide plenty of examples of bigotry, on which children can then form an opinion. From Harry’s defense of “mudbloods” like his friend Hermione, to Voldemort’s obsession with “pure-blood” witches and wizards, kids were able to recognize the unfairness in these instances and subsequently attach them to real-world examples of prejudice.
One caveat in the research: The “improved attitudes towards immigrants,” (researchers asked study participants about their feelings toward either immigrants, homosexuals, or refugees following the readings) were contingent on the kids identifying positively with Harry Potter.
No word on if just watching the movies counts.