Listen: Dr Justin Coulson, of Happy Families, explains how kids pretending to be superheroes are enjoying and performing better at tasks
We hear a lot about mindfulness as a way to overcome stress – but what if that doesn’t work for you?
New research has revealed another effective technique to help you or your child stay focused in the moment. It’s being dubbed “The Batman Effect”.
Dr Justin Coulson said it could be a good approach for those who prefer a more active technique.
“Mindfulness is about being in the moment. Mindfulness is about accepting things for how they are in a non-judgemental fashion and then just being there with it. The Batman Effect is a lot more active,” he said.
Researchers found that children who pretended to be their hero could achieve greater focus when completing difficult tasks, as opposed to children placed in one group where they asked themselves “Am I working hard?” and another group where they referred to themselves in third person and asked “Is [insert their own name] working hard?”.
“They took on the persona of their superhero. And the researchers found that, relative to the other two groups, the Batman group – the superhero group – showed greater task persistence and greater enjoyment,” Dr Coulson said.
“In other words, when we channel our inner Batman, whatever that might be, we tend to get past the stuff that slows us down otherwise. We take on the attributes of that superhero and we enjoy ourselves more and do better at the task.”
“The Batman Effect” allows the person to create psychological distance between themselves and the task they are completing, which reduces feelings of stress and inadequacy.
“The research speaks for itself. These kids that are pretending to be Batman or Dora are doing better,” Dr Coulson said.
Listen to the full explanation by Dr Justin Coulson in the player above.