That’s right – the next time one of your friends gives you a hard time for loving everything magical and Hogwarts (or for legitimately needing to believe that your letter got lost in the mail), you’ve got science on your side when you hit back.

According to a recent paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, kids who read the books and identify with Harry are more open-minded and less likely to be prejudiced against minority groups.

In order to come to this conclusion, they looked at three different groups – fifth graders, high schoolers, and college students – and in each, those who discussed and understood the deeper themes of Harry Potter were more likely to be sensitive to the plight of underrepresented groups (like immigrants).

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Sure, Harry Potter is a classic good vs. evil tale with a whole lot of fun thrown into the mix, but if you look deeper, the imagined world Harry and his friends inhabit possesses a lot of the inherent issues of our own. There’s a caste system firmly in place, Voldemort and his like are obsessed with “Pureblood” witches and wizards (Hitler, anyone?), house elves are slaves who can only be granted their freedom by their masters, and one only has to listen to Firenze the centaur speak once to realize that there are those wizards who put themselves above other magical creatures who are part of the community.

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But not Harry.

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He might not be the smartest, the quickest, or the best with a spell (he’s got Hermione and Ginny for that), but Harry views everyone as an equal without a second thought. It’s partly because he’s spent his life being treated as a second class citizen, but also because it’s how he inherently interacts with the world – and one of the things that makes him a hero.

It turns out that people of all ages who read the books and identify with Harry (as opposed to the Dark Lord) are inspired to be heroes in real life, too.

Want more Harry Potter? Think you know everything there is to know about the world of Harry Potter? Here are 11 secrets listed below will add to your canon of knowledge!

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h/t: Scary Mommy