The team devised a “Superman” test in which subjects donned virtual reality goggles and were dropped into an evacuated city.
Some were told that they had superhuman powers, and had to deliver a shot of insulin to a diabetic child stranded somewhere nearby. “You lift your arms above your head to fly, and rotate your body to go in another direction - just like Superman in the movies,” says Bailenson.
Other participants were taken on a tourists’ helicopter ride around the city instead.
Once the child had been found, or the helicopter ride was complete, the participants sat through an interview that they were not told was part of the experiment. Halfway through the meeting, the researcher would knock over a pot of stationery on a desk.
Interviewees who had been given superhuman powers in the virtual world rushed to help clean up the mess more often than those who had not - many of whom did nothing at all.

Sam Judah