As if "Harry Potter" fans weren't already cool enough, there's now SCIENTIFIC PROOF that confirms how undeniably awesome they are. New research suggests reading J.K. Rowling's famous book series can reduce discrimination against minority groups in real life.
The study, "The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice," was published online by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology on July 23. Researchers found that Harry Potter readers have more positive attitudes towards LGBT individuals and immigrants compared to nonreaders.
In other words, "Harry Potter" readers are making the world a better place. Researchers conducted three studies to support this super important fact of life.
The first study examined how a six-week "Harry Potter" book discussion group influenced kids' attitudes towards immigrants.
Remember this scene that singlehandedly fueled your Malfoy hatred for the rest of the series?
Italian elementary school students who identified with Harry -- that is, they aspired to be more like his character -- read and discussed the above Malfoy scene, along with similar excerpts about discrimination towards minority groups like "mudbloods." Afterwards, kids reported having more positive attitudes towards immigrants than they did before reading HP. This effect didn't apply to those who read passages unrelated to prejudice or who didn't personally identify with Harry's character.
The second study replicated these awesome results with attitudes towards LGBT communities.
Researchers found that Italian high school students who read more HP books and who emotionally identified with Harry's character perceived LGBT people more positively than non-HP readers did.
The third study explored how "Harry Potter" affected older students' views of refugees.
Reading "Harry Potter" made British university students more likely to consider the perspective of refugees, which then improved the students' attitudes towards them. This time around, the effects had less to do with wanting to be like Harry and much more to do with NOT wanting to be like Voldemort. Disidentifying with Voldy was associated with more positive attitudes towards refugees.
Go Harry! Next stop: world peace.