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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Who says television will rot your brain? Not the researchers behind a new study, who found that watching a high-quality drama can increase your emotional awareness.

Social scientists asked 100 people to watch either a television drama (Mad Men or The West Wing) or a documentary (How the Universe Works or Shark Week: Jaws Strikes Back).

After watching the show, the participants were shown photos of 36 pairs of eyes and asked to interpret the emotions they perceived.

Those who watched the drama scored higher on an empathy test than those who watched the non-fiction program.

The researchers repeated the test, this time with The Good Wife and another control group and found the same results.

The study is published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

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