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Tonight I see the sky




到底要经过多少不眠的夜晚, 才能到达终点, 到底要失去多少, 这战斗才会结束。 背过去的脸到底要受到多少的感动, 才会停止装作无动于衷。 有人说: 一切答案尽在风中~



2010-12-13 01:43:59|  分类: 漂在北美 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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           美国斯坦福大学Heroic Imagination Project在研究如何复制英雄领袖,让世界知道美国还是世界的领袖,还是世界第一。



Can modern science help us to create heroes? That's the lofty question behind the Heroic Imagination Project, a new nonprofit started by Phil Zimbardo, a psychologist at Stanford University. The goal of the project is simple: to put decades of experimental research to use in training the next generation of exemplary Americans, churning out good guys with the same efficiency that gangs and terrorist groups produce bad guys.

At first glance, this seems like a slightly absurd endeavor. Heroism, after all, isn't supposed to be a teachable trait. We assume that people like Gandhi or Rosa Parks or the 9/11 hero Todd Beamer have some intangible quality that the rest of us lack. When we get scared and selfish, these brave souls find a way to act, to speak out, to help others in need. That's why they're heroes.

Mr. Zimbardo rejects this view. "We've been saddled for too long with this mystical view of heroism," he says. "We assume heroes are demigods. But they're not. A hero is just an ordinary person who does something extraordinary. I believe we can use science to teach people how to do that."

The curriculum, which lasts four weeks and is targeted at adolescents, is rooted in decades of psychological research. (Mr. Zimbardo is best known as the scientist behind the Stanford Prison experiment, which demonstrated that even liberal-minded undergrads can be turned into sadistic prison guards.) After taking a "hero pledge"—research shows that public commitments boost rates of adherence—the "heroes in training" begin their education.

The first lessons focus on human frailties, those hard-wired flaws that allow evil to flourish. The students are taught, for instance, about the research of the psychologist Stanley Milgram, whose famous experiment in the early 1960s showed that ordinary people would blindly obey authority and give what they thought were strong electrical shocks to strangers. They are also warned about the bystander effect—our reluctance to help a person in need when others are around—and the prevalence of prejudice. It's a crash course in all the different tendencies that lead good people astray.

After being "fortified against the dark side," the student heroes are trained to be more empathetic. Most of these lessons revolve around perception, on becoming more attentive to the feelings of others. The students learn how to interpret micro-facial expressions—a fake smile looks different than a real smile—and practice listening to their classmates. Another important lesson revolves around the fundamental attribution error, a prevalent psychological bias in which people neglect the influence of context on behavior. "One of the main reasons we don't help others is because we assume they deserve what happened to them, that they must have done something wrong," Mr. Zimbardo says. "But most of the time it's just the situation playing itself out. We teach people how not to blame the victim."

The next phase of instruction has a grandiose title: "Internalizing the Heroic Imagination." The students begin studying the behavior of other heroes, past and present. They look at Harry Potter and Abraham Lincoln, Achilles and Martin Luther King. (Mr. Zimbardo is trying to create a "Heropedia," so that people can search a vast database to find heroes in their neighborhood or age group.) Because human behavior is profoundly shaped by those around us—we are all natural "peer modelers"—the project attempts to give students a more heroic set of peers. "Just look at the Milgram experiment," Mr. Zimbardo says. "Everybody uses that as an example of how bad people are. But the actual data aren't so depressing. If subjects watched someone else refuse to issue shocks, then they almost always refused, too. The hero created another hero."

The last step of hero training is the most important. The students begin rehearsing their heroism in the real world, translating the classroom lessons into positive changes. (No cape required.) The students start with baby steps, as they are instructed to do one thing every day that makes someone else feel better. Perhaps it's complimenting a bus driver, or helping mom make dinner, or spending quality time with grandpa. The goal is to break down the barrier that keeps good intentions from becoming virtuous actions. Though real heroes take risks, Zimbardo notes that one can't begin with reckless acts of altruism. Courage requires practice.

At the moment, the Heroic Imagination Project remains a modest endeavor, operating out of a single storefront in San Francisco. The project has just begun pilot programs at several middle schools and high schools in the Bay Area, with plans to develop additional seminars for business executives and young children next year. After graduating from the course, the heroes will be encouraged to stay in touch via a special online social network, a kind of Facebook for heroes. Mr. Zimbardo also plans on monitoring the long-term effects of the project, as he revises the curriculum to maximize its impact.

One day, though, Mr. Zimbardo hopes to have a hero project in every city. "One of the problems with our culture is that we've replaced heroes with celebrities," Mr. Zimbardo says. "We worship people who haven't done anything. It's time to get back to focusing on what matters, because we need real heroes more than ever."

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