The purpose of this project is to foster prosocial behavior of children and adolescents in 5 Latin American countries (Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay), through the use of two web-based technological programs called Hero and Little Hero.

Hero and Little Hero are currently two prototype instruments designed by Mesurado, Distefano & Robiolo (2016), to foster prosocial behavior; the virtues of empathy, gratitude, forgiveness, positive emotions and actions to benefit others in adolescents and children. This project will upgrade the Hero and Little Hero web-based program prototypes, and test the effectiveness of their work through a series of activities in five different Latin American countries.

The intervention sample will include 1500 adolescents from 12 to 15 years old that will  participate in Hero, and 750 children from 8 to 11 years old that will participate in Little Hero, of both sexes (300 adolescents and 150 children per country). The control sample (adolescents and children that will not receive the interventions) will include  1500 adolescents and 750 children of similar age as the intervention sample and of both sexes as well (300 adolescents and  150 children per country). We will study the efficacy of the intervention with a pre-test, post-test, and follow-up design.

The promotion of prosocial behavior during the development of children and adolescents benefits individual functioning and favors interpersonal relations. On an individual level, studies show that prosocial behavior promotes the acceptance and integration of diversity, protects the appearance of unadaptive behavior and intensifies the sense of transcendence, enhancing the meaning of the person’s own existence. On a social level, it positively correlates with the development of social abilities, favoring integration into the community and psychosocial adaptation in children and adolescents, as well as inhibiting aggressive behaviors.

Visit the Hero! and Little Hero! websites

Director: Dr. María Belén Mesurado

Co-director: Dra. Gabriela Robiolo

Duration: 2019-2022

Funding: Templeton World Charity Foundation (USD 425.839) Austral University (USD 36.721)

See full staff here.