People who went through a virtual reality flying simulation emerged ready to save lives.
PROBLEM: The world needs more superheroes, but science hasn't caught up. No jetpacks or invisibility cloaks, that we know of, and we all know how performance enhancing drugs turn out. So how might we use the technology we do have to spread good?
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METHODOLOGY: Researchers at Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab designed a virtual reality game that simulated flight. Some players rode as passengers in a helicopter, while others were granted the power to fly like Superman. Then they were either assigned a mission -- to help find a "young, lost diabetic child in need of life-saving insulin immediately" -- or invited to tour a virtual city.
They designed the scenarios to be realistic as possible. For example, since they didn't include any people on the city tour to control for any social effects, they made up an elaborate back story about an earthquake and subsequent evacuation, to explain why this was so.
After each player had safely landed and the game was complete, an experimenter "accidentally" knocked over a can of pens. She would wait five seconds for the participant to help, then slowly and passive aggressively pick them up one by one.