Have you ever left the theaters after watching a Batman or Superman movie feeling like you wanted to be a better person? If so, you’re not alone. Research finds that superheroes may be more than just entertaining–they can also influence people to do good deeds

“So there has been research that looked at, basically kind of, the motivational function of heroes. And we were thinking that they’re supposed to help set guidelines or be exemplars for moral or virtuous behaviors that people should emulate,” says Daryl Van Tongeren, an associate profession of psychology at Hope College in Michigan. To see if superheroes could inspire people to be more altruistic or act pro-socially the researchers asked participants to enter a room with either a superman poster or a poster of a bicycle. The volunteers were then asked to describe items in the room and then fill out a questionnaire.

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