The four paths of heroism

The four paths of heroism Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Everyday acts of heroism
Everyday acts of heroism

Political scientist Ari Kohen, from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, hypothesizes in a special issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology that heroes share four learned attributes, not character traits, that set them apart. The attributes — expansive empathy, heroic imaginations, special training and habitual helping. Amidst all the tragedies going on there is always a hero that steps in, these people are usually celebrated but not often asked why they did so.
“Every person thinks that in an emergency, they’ll be the person who stands up and does the right thing, but literature in psychology, specifically the bystander effect, says we’re absolutely wrong about that,” Kohen said.

The bystander effect has been studied thoroughly while the people that do act in the event of something has not been researched enough so Kohen is taking up the responsibility. Research like this can lead to building a culture and community of people who are going to stand up and do the right thing.

Heroic imagination is being able to put yourself in difficult situations and knowing how to handle them. It also helps when you have already though about those situations before so then you kind of know how you will react.

People that have had some training, for example military training or lifeguard training, are more likely to step up during an attack or if save a drowning child. The bystander effect is weaker among these people.

Repetitive actions can be a predictor of heroic behavior. Getting into the habit of helping people and looking out for what other people may need from you will help you become a habitual helper.

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