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‘The Character Gap’: How Good Are We Really?

Mahatma Gandhi
Wikimedia public domain
Mahatma Gandhi is upheld by many as an example of good character.

From a young age, humans receive messages from school, religion, and society about developing a strong moral compass and learning how to do “the right thing.” But according to expansive psychological research, there is a gap between how good we are and how good we think we are. 

Author Christian B. Miller argues that although many people believe they would help out in an emergency situation, studies show that most bystanders do not get involved. In his new book “The Character Gap: How Good Are We?” (Oxford University Press/ 2017) Miller, a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University, explores the many forces at play in the decision to be a good person.

He speaks with host Frank Stasio about his work on the Character Project research program and his personal reflections on how character can be shaped and manipulated. 

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Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.