The Shadow Of The Bat

August 23, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Why are superheroes so popular with websites like, say, this one? Tom Jacobs reports on a study that may answer the question:

  • First participants were asked how strong an emotional connection they had with either Batman or Spiderman.
  • Some were then shown a picture of that superhero looking muscular and strong.
  • They then rated how they felt about their bodies. Those without a strong emotional connection to the superhero felt worse about their body, presumably because they compared their body to the idealized body of the superhero. Those who did have a strong connection, however, felt better about their body after seeing an image of the superhero, because it inspired them.
  • The inspiration had concrete effects. In a strength task those who had a deep emotional connection with the heroes did better than those who didn’t.
  • This might mean that superheroes are popular today because they help men deal with body image issues.

Find out more about the methodology of the study over here. You’ll also find out how this ties into other work on the issue, and what implications this has.

Source: Pacific Standard

Via: Marginal Revolution