Acting like a superhero makes you behave like one in real life


Pretending to be a superhero can make you behave like one in real life, according to a new study.

Scientists from Stanford University put volunteers in a virtual reality and gave them an air-based mission where some had the Superman-ability to fly and others had to rely on a helicopter to travel.

Those who had been given flying powers were more likely to help their fellow man once the virtual reality goggles were removed.

The volunteers were assigned one of two tasks either helping to find a missing diabetic child, or exploring a virtual city, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Regardless of what task they were given, those with Superman powers showed a tendency to be more helpful after returning to the 'real' world.

Participants wore virtual reality headsets to immerse them in a computer-generated city which had been evacuated after an earthquake warning.

Flying like Superman involved lifting the arms to take off and controlling speed and direction with movements of the hands, while those in the helicopter were simply piloted around.

After their virtual reality experience, participants were unknowingly tested in a second part.

Each volunteer was asked to take a seat while the researchers put away their equipment, 'accidentally' knocking over a cup of pens.

Participants who had been given the chance to fly like Superman were more likely to pick up the pens than those who had been helicopter passengers.

Whether or not they had been sent to find the missing girl made no difference.

"Flying participants were quicker to help than helicopter participants. In addition, there was a significant effect of number of pens picked up such that flyers picked up more pens than helicopter riders," said researchers, led by Dr Robin Rosenberg.

In fact, six participants did not help at all, and these participants were all in the helicopter condition.

... contd.

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