08/31/2012 08:18 am ET Updated Oct 31, 2012

Art Makes You Nicer

CHICAGO -- If you are involved in the arts, either as a practitioner or a consumer (or both), you know that there are two competing images of yourself: the vicious backstabber, hungry for success at any cost (see Gallery Girls) and the basically nice person who believes in that old-fashioned idea that art makes you a better person. If you thought that the second picture was under threat, then you'll be relieved to hear the good news from the University of Chicago, where according to the results from a recent study, art really does make you nicer.

Kelly LeRoux, principal investigator on the study and assistant professor of public administration at UIC, based her conclusions on data from the General Social Survey. This is the study for the National Data Program for the Sciences that has tracked the social attitudes of 2,765 adults since the early 1970s.