IGEL North: Empirical research on literary reading

IGEL North is a Northern European research group aiming to promote empirical approaches to reading, media and culture within Nordic academia.


IGEL North is a research group involved in empirical research on literary reading experiences. In line with IGEL (The International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media), IGEL North is particularly dedicated to literacy and reader response, media psychology and the social value of the reading of literature.

A full participation in society requires good reading skills. So called “deep reading”, or continuous reading of longer, linear texts – such as novels – is an important aspect to reading. The reading of fiction is shown to have positive effects on the cognitive development in children, such as in relation to language acquisition.

The connection between the amount of literary reading and central language skills that constitute the foundation of the development of reading skills, such as vocabulary, is also documented in empirical reading research. Empirical studies have also found connections between specific literary reading and a range of psychosocial skills such as sympathy, empathy and our ability to draw conclusions on other people’s plans, intentions and motivations.

Such effects, that may be unique to literary reading, can, to a large extent, be attributed to emotional and experience-related (rather than primarily cognitive and critically/analytically oriented) aspects of reading of literary texts.

Examples of previous and on-going research projects in IGEL North are: the effect of digitalization on the reader experience; how reading literature may be beneficial to mental health, and prerequisites for meaningful experiences with literature in education.

Get in touch with us

We welcome researchers interested in participating in IGEL North to contact coordinator Anne Mangen:

We are proud to welcome you to Stavanger for the Conference of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media, July 25–28, 2018.

Anne Mangen

Professor Anne Mangen is coordinator for IGEL North.