We’ve been doing this for a reason, guys: a new study out of the University of Arkansas argues that exposing people to art at an early age makes them not only more creative, but more empathetic, tolerant, and critical in their thinking (just like reading fiction).

The research was conducted by allowing randomly selected young students to tour a recently-opened art museum in the state, then, a few weeks later, asking them about what they learned, as well as “general questions about their tolerance toward others and whether they felt able to empathize with people from different historical periods,” according to Co.CreateTheir responses were compared with those of students who didn’t go on the tour. Those who attended the museum showed markedly more positive results than those who didn’t.

“We don’t know if art makes you better at critical thinking when solving a puzzle or a math problem,” researcher Jay P. Greene told Co.Create. “But we don’t have to translate math and reading into art to know they’re good. Why should we have to translate art into reading and math? Art is doing something on its own and that’s what we care about.”