We all wonder how we would react in an emergency. Would we risk our lives to help someone in danger?
Laurie Ann Eldridge found out last year. Looking up from her garden one evening at her Cameron, N.Y., home, Ms. Eldridge saw a confused 81-year-old driver stuck at a railroad crossing nearby, oblivious to the train speeding toward her car.
劳丽•埃德里奇(Laurie Ann Eldridge)找到了答案。去年某一天的傍晚，住在纽约州卡梅伦(Cameron)的埃德里奇从自家花园抬头往外看时，发现一名神情茫然的司机困在附近的一个铁路道口上，对朝着她的车子疾驰而来的火车浑然不觉。
Ms. Eldridge raced barefoot to the car, wrestled out the disoriented woman, rolled with her down the railway embankment and covered her with her body, just seconds before the train demolished the automobile. Ms. Eldridge's feet were bloody and riddled with splinters. The elderly woman, Angeline C. Pascucci of Le Roy, N.Y., was unhurt.
埃德里奇光着脚跑向了那辆车，拼命把那位不知所措的老妇人拉出了车子，然后和她一起滚下铁路路基，并且用自己的身体挡住她。就在几秒钟后，疾驰而来的火车碾毁了那辆车子。埃德里奇的脚流着血，扎满了碎片，而那位家住纽约勒罗伊镇(Le Roy)的81岁的老妇人安吉丽娜•C. 帕斯古奇(Angeline C. Pascucci)却安然无恙。
It is hard to know for sure who will step up and who will freeze up in a crisis. But, amid growing interest in positive psychology, the study of human strengths and virtues, research in recent years has shed light on the qualities and attitudes that distinguish heroes from the rest of us.
Certain traits make it more likely that a person will make a split-second decision to take a heroic risk. People who like to take charge of situations, who respond sympathetically to others, and who have a strong sense of moral and social responsibility are more likely to intervene than people who lack those traits, research shows. Heroes tend by nature to be hopeful, believing events will turn out well. They consciously try to keep fear from hampering their pursuit of goals, and they tend to block out the possibility of injury or material loss.
People who are otherwise good and caring may still shrink back in a crisis. Their responses depend partly on whether they perceive the situation as an emergency and whether they know how to help; someone who doesn't know anything about electrical wiring probably won't rush to save a person tangled in a power line. How you're feeling that day makes a difference, too; 'people who are in a good mood are more likely to help,' says Julie M. Hupp, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University in Newark. Context also matters; some researchers say a large crowd makes it less likely that an individual hero will step up.
即便是善良、有同情心的人，可能依然会在危机中退缩。他们的反应部分取决于他们是否认为情况危急以及他们是否知道如何施救。一个对电气布线一无所知的人，不大可能冲出去救一个被电线缠住的人。你在事发当天的心情也会让你做出不同决定。俄亥俄州立大学纽瓦克分校(Ohio State University in Newark)的心理学助理教授朱莉•赫普(Julie M. Hupp)指出，“心情好的人更有可能会施以援手。”此外，事发当时的环境同样也有关系，一些研究人员称，如果危机现场有一大群人的话，某一个人挺身而出充当英雄的可能性就会降低。
Of course, it helps to be physically able. In a 1981 study of 32 people who had intervened to help victims of assaults, robberies or other serious crimes, researchers found the heroes were taller, heavier and more likely to have had training in rescuing people or responding to emergencies than a comparison group of people who hadn't intervened in a crime or emergency for 10 years.
But heroism is far more complex than that. Some heroes have qualities that enable them to blast through obstacles, recent research shows. Empathy, or care or concern for others, runs high in people with heroic tendencies, according to a 2009 study led by Sara Staats, a professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio State University in Newark.
Ms. Eldridge was an unlikely hero. She had no rescue training. At 5-foot-8 and 115 pounds, she was outweighed by the woman she saved. The biggest surprise to Ms. Eldridge, a single mother of two teenage boys, was that she was able to run at all. Until the day of the rescue, she hadn't run for 10 years because of a disabling back injury.
'All I could think about was the lady's face. She looked lost. She needed help, and she needed help right then,' says Ms. Eldridge, who received a medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, which honors civilians who risk their lives to save others, last June.
去年6月份，埃德里奇获得了卡内基英雄基金委员会(Carnegie Hero Fund Commission)颁发的用以表彰冒着生命危险救助他人的普通民众的奖章。埃德里奇说，“我当时所能想到的就是那位女士的脸。她看起来很茫然，她需要马上获得帮助。”
A tendency to frame events positively and expect good outcomes is another hallmark of heroes, says Jeremy Frimer, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Winnipeg. In a 2010 study, 25 Canadians who had won awards for risking their lives to save others were asked to tell stories about their lives. Heroes were more likely to 'take something that's bad and turn it into something that's good,' says Dr. Frimer, a co-author of the study with Lawrence Walker, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, and others. In an example from another study, Dr. Frimer says, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer described the disease as 're-energizing her creative side,' saying her return to creating art was 'a gift that came from the tragedy.''
加拿大温尼伯格大学(University of Winnipeg)心理学助理教授杰瑞米•弗利默(Jeremy Frimer)认为，从积极的方面想事情并期待良好的结果是英雄的另一个特征。在2010年的一项研究中，研究人员让25位曾因冒着生命危险救助他人而获得奖励的加拿大人讲述他们生活中的故事。弗利默博士称，英雄更有可能会“承担不好的事情，然后把它转变为好事。”她与不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)的心理学教授劳伦斯•沃克(Lawrence Walker)及其他研究者联合撰写了这份研究报告。弗利默博士还提到，在另一项研究中，一位被诊断患有乳腺癌的女士说这个疾病重新“激活了她具有创造力的一面”，并称她重新开始艺术创作是“这个悲剧送给她的一个礼物”。
When Stephen St. Bernard came home from work last month to his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment building, neighbors had gathered outside. A 7-year-old child had squeezed out of her family's third-floor apartment window and was dancing on the air-conditioning unit outside, some 25 feet above the pavement.
史蒂芬•圣伯纳德(Stephen St. Bernard)今年53岁，是纽约大都会运输署(Metropolitan Transportation Authority)的一名巴士司机。7月的某一天，家住纽约布鲁克林的圣伯纳德下班后回到自己所住的公寓楼，发现楼外聚集了一群邻居。原来，一个七岁大的孩子从位于三层的家里的窗户钻了出来，站在屋外的空调机上跳舞，距离路面大约有25英尺高。
All Mr. St. Bernard was thinking, he says, was 'maybe I can catch her,' says the 53-year-old bus driver for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 'The weight of the child, how hard she was going to hit me -- none of that crossed my mind,' he says. 'I was just hoping, praying, 'God, please don't let me miss.''
As he moved beneath the window, the girl slipped and plummeted into his outstretched arms with an estimated 600 pounds of force, nearly ripping his arm off. He has had surgery to repair the torn muscles, tendons and nerves and will need months of painful physical therapy. But in describing the incident, he focuses on the fact that the child escaped injury or death. 'Not a scratch was on that baby,' he says.
Heroic people also tend to have a strong sense of ethics and above-average coping skills -- a belief in their ability to tackle challenges and beat the odds, research shows. On the battlefield in Afghanistan last January, Navy nurse James Gennari knew, when he saw an injured Marine arrive on a stretcher at his medical facility, that standard procedures wouldn't work. The Marine had a live rocket-propelled grenade embedded in his body, from his thigh through his buttocks. A surgeon told Lt. Cmdr. Gennari he didn't have to intervene; a bomb squad could remove the grenade.
But Lt. Cmdr. Gennari stepped up to the stretcher, took the Marine's hand and told him, 'I promise you, no matter what, I won't leave you until that thing is out of your leg,' ' Lt. Cmdr. Gennari says. He administered a sedative so an explosives specialist could pull out the bomb. It was later detonated in a huge blast outside the base. Lt. Cmdr. Gennari kept the Marine alive by pumping a manual respirator during a power failure on a helicopter flight to another camp. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor this month.
Values that inspire heroism are often taught in childhood; 'children who grew up watching their parents stick their necks out for others, are likely to do the same,' says Dr. Hupp.
Lt. Cmdr. Gennari says his parents taught him 'that every good thing that happens to you is a blessing, and you're supposed to give back.' His father Gilbert, a Staff Sergeant in the Army who won a Bronze Star in the Korean War for meritorious service, taught him that 'a man's word is a measure of his character,' he adds. Thus when he gave the Marine his word that he wouldn't leave him, he says, 'that was the way it was going to be.'
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