From: The Wall Street Journal

The Power of Pretending: What Would a Hero Do?

Sometime or other, almost all of us secretly worry that we’re just impostors—bumbling children masquerading as competent adults. Some of us may deal with challenges by pretending to be a fictional hero instead of our unimpressive selves. I vividly remember how channeling Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet got me through the awkwardness of teen courtship. But can you really fake it till you make it?

Two recent studies—by Rachel White of the University of Pennsylvania, Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota and colleagues—describe what they call “The Batman Effect.” Children who pretend that they are Batman (or Dora the Explorer or other heroic figures) do better on measures of self-control and persistence.

In the first study, published in 2015 in the journal Developmental Science, the experimenters gave 48 5-year-olds increasingly challenging problems that required them to use their skills of control and self-inhibition. For example, researchers might ask a child to sort cards according to their color and then suddenly switch to sorting them by shape. Between the ages of 3 and 7, children gradually get better at these tasks.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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