: um estudo sobre heróis comuns

  • Ana Mafalda de Oliveira Meireles Vaz Guimarães (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Risking one‟s own life is a phenonema that has perplexed many since Darwins time (1871; 1872), as it contradicts the most basic of all instincts: that of survival. Although several theorists disbelieve the possibility of behavior detached from internal motivations (Leyens & Yzerbyt, 2008), the consequences of these actions are undoubtedly beneficial for those who receive them, and can represent a means of change for a more just, peaceful and sociocentric society (Batson, Ahmad, & Stocks, 2004; Zimbardo, 2009). However, despite the assured importance of altruistic behavior, there have been few studies focusing on the motives for which individuals act in scenarios of victimization (Kahn, 2009; Zimbardo, 2009). It was in the intent to contribute to the understanding of what we refer to as “heroic altruism”- actions that besides beneficiating primarily the target of these actions, jeopardizes the safety of the actors life- that this study was set up to achieve. In order to do so, we conducted in-depth interviews to two men and a woman whose lives have demonstrated altruistic heroic behaviors. The results put into evidence some environmental factors (e.g. altruistic reference models, intercultural contact), personality traits (e.g. courage, inconformity), and certain principles and values (e.g. solidarity and truth) that seem to be key understandings to altruistic heroic behaviors.
Date of Award20 Feb 2015
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMariana Barbosa (Supervisor)


  • Altruism
  • Heroism
  • Solidarity
  • Courage
  • Inconformity
  • Principles


  • Mestrado em Psicologia

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