It's Official: Kids Work Better When Pretending to Be Batman. Might Adults?
Obviously, we now want the adult version of this research paper. The "Batman Effect": Improving Perseverance in Young Children by Rachel E. White and Emily O. Prager is the report os a study into the benefits of "self-distancing", taking an outsider's view of one's own situation, on young children's perseverance.
180 four-year-old and six-year-old children were asked to complete a repetitive task for 10 minutes while having the option to take breaks by playing an extremely attractive video game.
As you might have expected, six-year-olds persevered longer than four-year-olds.
But across both ages, children who impersonated "an exemplar other" — in the case of the study, the DC Comics character best known as Batman — spent the most time working, followed by children who took a third-person perspective on the self, or finally, a first-person perspective.
The paper explores and discusses alternative explanations, implications, and future research directions. It follows up another study in the same area, What would Batman do? Self-distancing improves executive function in young children also by Rachel E. White, but this time with Stephanie M. Carlson from 2015, which noted that three-year-olds did not display any change in their success rate.
But for me, the conclusion is simple: Cosplay in the classroom, the home, and, frankly, the office. With the financial market tanking, it's the only way to save the economy, education, and local fabric stores.