Images of superheroes make us want to help others, study finds

Exposure to images of superheroes — such as Superman or Spider-Man — leads to greater intentions to engage in helpful behaviors, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Hope College in Michigan.

Jeff Green, Ph.D.

Jeff Green, Ph.D.

“Heroes loom large as exemplars of morality. They often embody virtues that we wish to express in our lives,” according to the study. “Our findings suggest that heroic images — even relatively subtle images of superheroes — may increase one’s intentions to help and actual helping behavior.”

The study, “Heroic Helping: The Effects of Priming Superhero Images on Prosociality” was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

VCU News has the full story.