Heroic images are presented here as constructed possible selves which may play an important role in self development. A questionnaire was given to 510 Irish and 190 U.S. third and fourth grade children in a study designed to investigate (1) their conceptions of the heroic and (2) the effects of a classroom intervention on the Irish children’s choices of heroes and heroines. The educational program was constructivist and designed to challenge children to reconsider their ideas about heroic figures and to engage in discussion designed to promote prosocial attitudes in concrete ways. While national origin and gender strongly influenced children’s heroic images, there were strong factor structure similarities in U.S. and Irish samples. “The good” was the first factor, the fifth an antiheroic factor, and the others reflected figures from film, television and sport. In addition, gender differences in the choice of proximal and distal heroic figures were identified. Prosocial effects due to the intervention program were encouraging and discussed within the context of Irish educational objectives. Relevance: Heroes play an important role in identity. This study shows both national differences between Irish and US primary/elementary age children, and also shows how a classroom intervention can influence heroic figures chosen.
Children’s self concepts are important constructions of their experience in childhood. Following Ernst von Glasersfeld’s approach, self concepts are personal organisations of self-other experiences. Heroes as admired figures have a role in self-concepts and play collectivist or individualist roles in the child’s imagination and self-development. Further, they reflect what the child has chosen as important. Representations of heroic figures in questionnaires given to French (n = 241) and Spanish (n = 227) samples of 10 and 15-year-olds were examined to assess the extent that heroes originated in digital media, and whether they were proximal or distal personalities. There is strong evidence that heroes in this sample were largely learned about in digital media (France 45%, Spain 50%): family and community heroes were a minority (France11%, Spain 9%). Male heroes were more important to Spanish participants compared to their French peers. The acquisition sequence for hero type reported in the pre-television era, proximal (family and community) to distal (beyond the neighbourhood), is reversed in this study. Generally, 10-year-olds preferred heroes with collectivist qualities and 15 year olds with individualised qualities. Findings are discussed in terms of the emergence of social capital. Relevance: This survey shows cultural differences in the choices of Spanish and French 10 and 15 year olds.
Context: The current study of emotions is based on theoretical models that limit the emotional experience. The collection of emotional data is through self-report questionnaires, restricting the description of emotional experience to broad concepts or induced preconceived qualities of how an emotion should be felt. Problem: Are the emotional experiences responding exclusively to these concepts and dimensions? Method: Music was used to lead participants into an emotional experience. Then a micro-phenomenological interview, a methodology with a phenomenological approach, was used to guide their descriptions. Results: The descriptions of emotional experiences revealed a temporal structure that could have a linear or circular development. Moreover the qualitative aspects disclosed that these experiences are characterized by corporal sensations and marked variations of emotional intensity. Additionally, the emotional experience was embodied. Implications: The emotional experience is a dynamic process in which bodily sensations take a primary role, allowing the identification of such emotions. The integration of these first-person features of emotional experience with third-person data could lead to a better understanding and interpretation of emotional processes. Constructivist content: This article highlights the need to integrate first-person and third-person methodologies to study and explain human behavior in a comprehensive manner. Key Words: Emotion, experience, micro-phenomenological interview, body, music, affective neuroscience.