Superhero Effects

Interestingly enough, this article suggests that pretending to have superhero powers could increase one’s tendency to help others. Based on this study that used “immersive virtual reality” (wearing gear and adapting roles in the form of avatars), college-level participants who had acquired avatars with superhero powers (like flying) were more helpful to others in real life than those who had acquired avatars without superhero powers (who were virtual passengers in a helicopter). Afterwards, researchers of the study purposely knocked down a tin of pens. Researchers found that those who had pretended to have superhero powers responded quicker in helping pick up the pens and picked up a larger number of pens. Also, of the 60 participants, 6 did not help at all and they had all been the passengers on the helicopter.
So the next time you see someone in need? Just think of yourself as Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman (for the ladies). Even more important are the huge implications these findings have for behavior change interventions.