Can superheroes leap over tall buildings? Can they become invisible? Can they walk through walls? Can they fly? These are the types of cutting-edge questions asked in a recent study commissioned by Canada's armed forces. Weird, huh?
According to the Ottawa Citizen, the survey of astonishingly obvious questions was just one way of learning how to "win the hearts and minds" of locals in conflict zones. The research arm of Canada's National Defence spent nearly $14,000 on data collection for the study as part of its psychological operations (PSYOPS) efforts. In the study's own words, "This work will not only allow cultural scientists to better understand the spread of non-natural and religious concepts but also allow the Canadian Armed Forces... to design messages that are more memorable for their target audiences."
Presumably, superheroes were not the only phenomenon studied in the research — although it might be the most hilarious. But, frankly, the U.S. shouldn't laugh too loud, as we're the country that produced The Men Who Stare at Goats which is, by the way, not fiction. Thing is, national defence is actually a pretty unpredictable and very expensive endeavour. At the end of the day, we don't really know how people's understanding of superheroes could affect when, how, or why they point their guns at us. So... better safe than dead? [Ottawa Citizen via Peter Singer]