As Heroes Emerge Amidst the Chaos in Boston, Professor Explains the Psychology of Heroism

Like with past attacks to the homeland, government employees and private individuals stepped up to help their fellow Americans as bombs exploded and disorder ensued near the Boston Marathon finish line Monday afternoon. Iconic images and stories of  heroism have already emerged less than 48 hours after the tragedy, like Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy hat-wearing peace activist and father of a fallen soldier seen rushing a critically injured man to help; and the image of police jumping to action above the fallen 78-year-old runner Bill Iffrig seconds after the blast, which will be on the cover of the next Sports Illustrated. 

Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts. (Credit: AP) 

Virginia Tech Psychology Professor Russell Jones joined ‘Real News‘ Tuesday to help explain the psychology of the heroes at the scene and first responders in Boston.

“I think that there is an innate quality that people have to want to help others, there’s something good about wanting to help” Professor Jones said, going on to add “helping individuals seems to be a very positive reinforcer on the part of many.”

Watch a clip of from the segment on the psychology of heroism below:

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