Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Music To My Ears


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a superhero flying in a virtual sky! Scientists now find that seeing superpowers in a virtual-reality game may lead people to act more virtuously in real life.  


To see if embodying a helpful role in virtual reality made people more helpful afterward, scientists had 60 volunteers don virtual reality helmets and engage in scenarios where they were either given the power of flight or rode as passengers in a helicopter. They were also assigned one of two tasks — they had to tour a virtual city or help find a missing diabetic child in need of insulin. 

Regardless of which task the volunteers performed, those who were given the power to fly like Superman in virtual reality were more helpful afterward in the real world compared with participants who were passengers in the virtual helicopter. specifically, volunteers who had virtual superpowers moved about three times faster on average than virtual helicopter passengers did to help experimenters pick up spilled pens after their virtual experiences — in fact, the six volunteers who did not help at all had all ridden in the virtual helicopter. [ Hero Helpers: 10 Best Sidekicks in Comic Book History

"The experience of super-flight in and of itself appears to be the salient variable that led people to help outside of virtual reality," said researcher Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Stanford, Calif., and author of "Superhero Origins: What Makes Superheroes Tick and Why We Care" (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).
 The point, I think is this. Being exposed to stories about people with powers being helpful made people, when they were in a similar situation be helpful. This should tells something about the roles and value of our stories. Fantasy is not a bad thing, it is what we are fantasizing that really matters. Are we imagining good or bad - whatr roles are we seeing people play and in what way.

This should send a message to comic writers everywhere as they attempt to make comics more and more "realistic" which makes the good and evil aspects of it more and more ambiguous. If comics continue down the path they are on, when the nation decides to turn right again (and it will) they will find themselves strapped by the CCA again or worse.

Maybe they ought to look at stuff like this study and decide to use their powers for the good of the nation. Wouldn't that be interesting.


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