Batman Effect

Batman Effect

Adopting an alter ego and thinking of yourself as a separate entity can reduce anxiety, increase your perseverance on challenging tasks and boost your self-control; this is known as the "Batman Effect."

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How can you keep moving when something is frustrating, painful, or boring? One way of making it through the circumstances that are devised to compel you to give up is to form an alter ego who always leverages the opportunity.

This is called “the Batman Effect”- coined owing to Bruce Wayne’s continuous struggle to suppress obstacles being a mere mortal that refers to kids doing better in tasks if they simulate some other character who is majorly successful in those tasks.

Earlier investigations have revealed that kids pretending to be proficient media characters continue longer on tedious tasks and do better on executive function tasks versus kids thinking about themselves from the first-person point of view. Taking the viewpoint of individuals more efficiently than themselves enables kids to reflect on the challenge and perceive it from various angles. It forms mental space or “psychological distance” between themselves and the effort-intensive task and helps them picture an exemplar.

Embracing an alter ego is an intense form of ‘self-distancing’ consisting of backing off from our instant emotions to let us see a situation more impartially. And this has influenced some think tanks to wonder if it can also enhance aspects of self-control, such as determination, by ensuring that we stay glued to our goals despite getting distracted.

In this vein, an experiment was conducted wherein people were asked whether they could better concentrate on challenging word puzzles if they had been asked to exercise self-distancing before the analysis. Here, they were asked to offer advice to themselves from the second-person perspective, “You will focus on every question,” as if they were interacting with an acquaintance instead of themselves. Apart from enhancing overall performance, the results could also be observed in questionnaires gauging their attitudes to the task, revealing a stronger intention to improve their performance.

By strengthening their sense of self-control, self-distancing can also enhance the health behavior of people. It can improve their intention to practice, case in point, and aids them in resisting the urge of junk food. This is no mean feat. Some self-control strategies to date have positively enhanced eating outcomes.

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