3 Types of Everyday Heroes

 In Hero Training, Social Psychology

We know about why we need heroes, but did you know there are several types of heroes? A paper by Zeno Franco, Kathy Blau and Dr. Phillip Zimbardo illuminates the differences between these types of heroes.

The paper can be accessed at the American Psychological Association. In the article, Franco, Blau and Zimbardo identify three types of heroes: martial, civil and social.

Martial heroes

Martial heroes are exemplary individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve others and the greater good. An example of a martial hero would be a soldier who faces death by venturing into the heart of battle to rescue an injured fellow soldier. This type of heroism favours courage as a motivator for heroic action. Although researchers have now found many other causes for heroic behaviour, taking bold action in adverse circumstances is a important feature of the martial hero. Martial heroes include individuals who are trained to handle dangerous situations and routinely put themselves at physical risk for their duty. Further examples of martial heroes include police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

Civil heroes

Unlike martial heroes, civil heroes act independently, such as in cases of an emergency rescue when someone collapses on the sidewalk. A civil hero is often someone who is “at the right place, at the right time” and acts on behalf of others. These heroic individuals are often equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge, such as CPR training, or are able to rally those around them into taking action to save someone else’s life. We have featured many examples of civil heroes as Everyday Heroes on our blog.

Social heroes

Social heroes differ from both martial and civil heroes in that their heroic acts do not necessarily involve an emergency situation. By sacrificing their time, finances and possible social status, social heroes work tirelessly to serve and foster their community and its values. Examples of social heroes includes volunteers, activists and whistleblowers. These individuals act with courage and kindness to promote an ideal, improve quality of life for others or to aid those who are struggling in their community. These types of heroes often perform their heroism regularly without asking for recognition or thanks, but their contributions are outstanding nonetheless.

Find out more about heroism research

At Hero Town, our heroism training is based on social psychological research such as the paper by Franco, Blau and Zimbardo we have briefly touched on today. If learning more about heroism research is something you would be interested in, we encourage you to sign up for our Hero Training program.

Steph Downing
Stephanie Downing is the administrative assistant for Hero Town Geelong. Born and raised in Geelong, Australia, Stephanie is a graduate of Deakin University with her Honours degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She adores words of all sorts and is especially infatuated with the medium of poetry and fiction, with publications of her work being featured in magazines such as WORDLY Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Cordite Poetry Review.
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