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Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Scott T. Allison


This paper outlines a study comprised of two experiments examining heroism. The first experiment was designed to empirically test Joseph Campbell’s heroic journey. The study hypothesized that scenarios that contain more Campbellian stages will be rated as more heroic, inspirational, and admirable than scenarios that contain fewer heroic stages. We also hypothesized that scenarios that contain more Campbellian stages will be categorized as transforming and traditional heroes while scenarios with fewer heroic stages will be categorized as trending and transitory heroes.

Our hypothesis was partially supported, as individuals were sensitive to the number of Campbellian elements in a scenario but not in the rank order we expected. We conclude that individual character traits of self-sacrifice are more influential to perceptions of heroism than the completion of Campbell’s heroic stages. The second experiment was designed to look at participants physical perceptions of heroism. We hypothesized that variables of age, race, and gender would correspond to different hero categorizations, which our results supported.