Research Topic

The Art and Science of Heroism and Heroic Leadership

About this Research Topic

Over the past two decades, psychological research on optimal human functioning has been burgeoning. Scholars have shown a new (or renewed) interest in topics such as morality, cooperation, altruism, wisdom, meaning, purpose, resilience, hope, flow, human growth, courage, empathy, spirituality, health, public service, self-control, emotional intelligence, and character strengths. The past decade especially has witnessed a surge in research on two types of exceptional individuals who best exemplify these positive qualities: heroes and heroic leaders.

Heroism represents the pinnacle of human behavior. More than the pinnacle, heroism occupies a central place in human experience, an idea consistent with “the banality of heroism.” From this perspective, all human beings are capable of behaving heroically when opportunities arise for heroic action. The progenitor of heroism science, Joseph Campbell, once noted that the study of hero mythology lies at the heart of all disciplinary fields of study. Tales of heroism influence our literature, our music, our history, our culture, our hearts, and our minds. Some research even suggests that the hero’s journey is central to our biological makeup.

Although psychology has thus far occupied the epicenter of research activity on heroic phenomena, this Research Topic aims to provide a forum that includes psychological approaches as well as perspectives from other social sciences, the natural sciences, and the arts. Heroism science is a nascent multiple disciplinary field that seeks to understand the multiplicity of processes associated with heroes and heroic behavior. Heroism science is part of a broader movement that aims to foster holistic well-being, promote heroic awareness and action, civic responsibility and engagement, and build resilient individuals and communities in the face of increasingly complex social landscapes.

This Research Topic encourages submissions that offer novel and creative approaches to understanding heroism. We especially welcome ideas that propose innovative paradigms, theories, methodologies, and disciplinary perspectives.


Keywords: hero, heroism, leadership, altruism, heroic leadership, morality, cooperation, wisdom, meaning, purpose, resilience, hope, flow, human growth, courage, empathy, spirituality, health, restoration, regeneration, public service, self-control, emotional intelligence, character strengths


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the past two decades, psychological research on optimal human functioning has been burgeoning. Scholars have shown a new (or renewed) interest in topics such as morality, cooperation, altruism, wisdom, meaning, purpose, resilience, hope, flow, human growth, courage, empathy, spirituality, health, public service, self-control, emotional intelligence, and character strengths. The past decade especially has witnessed a surge in research on two types of exceptional individuals who best exemplify these positive qualities: heroes and heroic leaders.

Heroism represents the pinnacle of human behavior. More than the pinnacle, heroism occupies a central place in human experience, an idea consistent with “the banality of heroism.” From this perspective, all human beings are capable of behaving heroically when opportunities arise for heroic action. The progenitor of heroism science, Joseph Campbell, once noted that the study of hero mythology lies at the heart of all disciplinary fields of study. Tales of heroism influence our literature, our music, our history, our culture, our hearts, and our minds. Some research even suggests that the hero’s journey is central to our biological makeup.

Although psychology has thus far occupied the epicenter of research activity on heroic phenomena, this Research Topic aims to provide a forum that includes psychological approaches as well as perspectives from other social sciences, the natural sciences, and the arts. Heroism science is a nascent multiple disciplinary field that seeks to understand the multiplicity of processes associated with heroes and heroic behavior. Heroism science is part of a broader movement that aims to foster holistic well-being, promote heroic awareness and action, civic responsibility and engagement, and build resilient individuals and communities in the face of increasingly complex social landscapes.

This Research Topic encourages submissions that offer novel and creative approaches to understanding heroism. We especially welcome ideas that propose innovative paradigms, theories, methodologies, and disciplinary perspectives.


Keywords: hero, heroism, leadership, altruism, heroic leadership, morality, cooperation, wisdom, meaning, purpose, resilience, hope, flow, human growth, courage, empathy, spirituality, health, restoration, regeneration, public service, self-control, emotional intelligence, character strengths


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2018 Abstract
01 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 January 2018 Abstract
01 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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