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Research of civil courage and its promotion through playful experiences

In everyday life, situations that require moral courage or helping others arise frequently. Bypassers usually have to decide within seconds whether and how they should intervene in a dangerous situation without endangering their own safety. Therefore, kURAGE: Erforschung von Zivilcourage und deren Förderung durch spielerische Erfahrungen dealt with the question why people act morally courageously and which barriers can be identified in case they do not intervene. The project aimed at developing innovative training concepts for moral courage, which allow a location-independent and individual use, strengthen intervention competencies, and create awareness through playful approaches.

Whether a person intervenes is determined by a variety of factors. Morally courageous behavior can be seen as a chronological process: A person must perceive the event, recognize it as an emergency, acknowledge the personal responsibility, recognize the ability to intervene, and finally make the decision to act. Developing intervention competencies in a playful approach allows for "behavioral rehearsal" and exploring morally courageous behavior (dealing with attacks, powerlessness, aggression, and fear), as well as strengthening confidence in applying intervention strategies. Current results show that prosocial video games can activate prosocial thoughts and thus promote moral courage (Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010). However, it remains unclear, which specific factors have the greatest potential for strengthening and promoting moral courage. kURAGE aimed to develop such a game-based training concept based on scientific findings on moral courage.

In order to summarise and analyse the current state of research in an integrative and systematic way, we systematised the results published in a meta-analysis on situational and subject-related influencing factors for moral courageous action in terms of effect strengths. The results of the meta-analysis provided the basis for two field experiments to investigate new influencing factors. For this purpose, areas of factors whose influence can be assumed to be relatively high, but which have not yet been sufficiently researched, were empirically examined. Based on this, a game-based training concept was developed, which integrates important influencing factors for moral courageous action.

Key Words: moral courage, psychological factors, training concepts, awareness, games

Start: 10/2017

Duration: 15 months

Customer / Funding Organisation: FFG Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft

AIT-Contact: Julia Himmelsbach

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) within the security research funding program KIRAS.

News zum Projekt

News - Soll ich einschreiten oder nicht? (22.08.2018)

News - AIT Expertinnen im Café Puls Interview (31.01.2019)

News - Zivilcourage: Julia Himmelsbach im Puls4 Interview (13.08.2020)