If you’re a fan of superhero films (and who isn’t?), then you’re probably stoked for the upcoming releases of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Justice League—and not just because Jason Momoa got insanely jacked to play Aquaman.
But whether you’re a comic book purist, more of a superhero movie fan, or just the kind of guy who logs hours each week playing Overwatch, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Everyone loves the caped crusaders who make it their mission to save the world, no matter how evil the villain or unstoppable the forces.
And here’s why: Infants can actually recognize heroic acts and are innately drawn to figures who protect the weak, according to a new Kyoto-based study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
In the study, researchers conducted a series of experiments where infants were shown animated scenarios where one character bumps into another character, while a third onlooker watches from the distance. In one scenario, the onlooker intervenes and in a second scenario, the onlooker runs away. When the infants were shown real life replicas of the intervening or non-intervening characters, they were more likely to choose the intervener.
“Six-month-old infants are still in an early developmental stage, and most will not yet be able to talk,” said study contributor David Butler. “Nevertheless, they can already understand the power dynamics between these different characters, suggesting that recognizing heroism is perhaps an innate ability.”
As we get older, our sense of justice develops and becomes more complex over time, says the study. This new research may explain why you (and the rest of the world, considering that DC and Marvel films rake in billions of dollars worldwide) love superheroes so damn much—it’s an innate human trait.
In the meantime, if you can’t wait for the premiere of Justice League (which hits theaters on November 17, 2017), check out this sneak peek Auqaman footage from the film.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a feat of heroism you can do pretty much every day, try this: Rack your weights.
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