Well, that's a very cool thing to learn today, that if you read fiction, according to this article, you're improving your empathy. Makes sense, and I'd never even considered it before.
Think about it: you're reading tales of woe, misery, love, life, laughter, sadness, pain, horror, and all kinds of other things. If the writer did a good job, you actually care about the characters. This would, logically, engender a feeling of sadness or happiness depending upon what happens in the plot. The author, in this way, has done more than entertain you--he or she has added to your emotional depth. Increased your levels of empathy, almost as if it were a tangible item, like fuel in your car, as if more were simply added.
Good words, well chosen, can indeed change the world--one reader at a time.