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Developmental Differences in Younger and Older Adolescents’ Understanding of Heroism
Unformatted Document Text:  18 role model. Interestingly, those who selected Two Face as a role model were also less likely to understand the program content. Those who selected Chase or Robin as a role model were also likely to perceive the film as being more violent. We then conducted a 2 (grade) by 2 (gender) between-subjects ANOVA with identification with characters as the dependent variable. There was a trend for males to identify with Batman, F(1,183) = 2.185, p = .095 (means: 2.125, sd = .108 vs. 1.878, sd = .100, respectively). Females and older participants were more likely to identify with Chase Meridian than were males, F(1,183) = 15.102, p < .001 (means: 2.214, sd = .098 for females vs. 1.657, sd = .105 for males) and younger participants, F(1,183)=8.667, p = .004 (means: 2.147, sd = .109 for college students vs. 1.724, sd = .093 for high school students). Interestingly, high school students were more likely to identify with the villain, Two Face, than were college students, F(1,183) = 4.775, p = .030 (Means = 1.178, sd = .046 for high school students vs. 1.024, sd = .054 for college students. Age and gender were unrelated to students’ identification with Robin. Perceptions of Conscience Most participants, regardless of age and gender, thought that Batman and Robin were guided by their consciences in their actions. For Batman, the mean level of perceived conscience was 3.36 (sd = .761), and for Robin the mean was 3.61 (sd = .662). On a scale of 1-4, the scores fell between “somewhat” and “a whole lot.” Separate questions assessed the participants’ reasoning about Batman’s and Robin’s conscience. The kinds of explanations that participants gave about Batman’s conscience involved: (1) saving others (e.g., “he realizes the effects of his actions and lets the good of the community override his own good,” 19-year-old female; (2) trying to do

Authors: Zehnder, Sean. and Calvert, Sandra.
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role model. Interestingly, those who selected Two Face as a role model were also less
likely to understand the program content. Those who selected Chase or Robin as a role
model were also likely to perceive the film as being more violent.
We then conducted a 2 (grade) by 2 (gender) between-subjects ANOVA with
identification with characters as the dependent variable. There was a trend for males to
identify with Batman, F(1,183) = 2.185, p = .095 (means: 2.125, sd = .108 vs. 1.878, sd =
.100, respectively). Females and older participants were more likely to identify with
Chase Meridian than were males, F(1,183) = 15.102, p < .001 (means: 2.214, sd = .098
for females vs. 1.657, sd = .105 for males) and younger participants, F(1,183)=8.667, p =
.004 (means: 2.147, sd = .109 for college students vs. 1.724, sd = .093 for high school
students). Interestingly, high school students were more likely to identify with the
villain, Two Face, than were college students, F(1,183) = 4.775, p = .030 (Means =
1.178, sd = .046 for high school students vs. 1.024, sd = .054 for college students. Age
and gender were unrelated to students’ identification with Robin.
Perceptions of Conscience
Most participants, regardless of age and gender, thought that Batman and Robin
were guided by their consciences in their actions. For Batman, the mean level of
perceived conscience was 3.36 (sd = .761), and for Robin the mean was 3.61 (sd = .662).
On a scale of 1-4, the scores fell between “somewhat” and “a whole lot.”
Separate questions assessed the participants’ reasoning about Batman’s and
Robin’s conscience. The kinds of explanations that participants gave about Batman’s
conscience involved: (1) saving others (e.g., “he realizes the effects of his actions and lets
the good of the community override his own good,” 19-year-old female; (2) trying to do


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