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Prototyping Empathy Circles with
Super Heroes, Super 
Villains and a Super Empathy Advocate
 team-6 : Edwin, Lewis

Prototype 1

Lewis and I formed a team to create a prototype of an empathy circle with role plays of participants taking on the role of super heroes, super villains and the empathic mediator. 

High school students can take on the role of the hero, villain or empathic mediator. Students can take on the role of any character they wish.


  • Super heroes: Participant can select any hero they want to be.
  • Super villain: Participant can select any villain they want to be.
  • Empathic mediator: Take on the role of an empathic mediator. Advocate for more empathy and understanding. Listen to the other participants, don't judge but try to bring everyone together. Keep the participants on track to do empathic listening. Be sure each antiparticle is fully heard before allowing the other to speak. 

We did one role play with Lewis taking on the character of the Flash and Edwin was Satan. We then used empathic listening to talk about our issues.


 They will try to work out their differences.


We did an initial test of it which was a lot of fun. Satan and the Flash used empathic listening to try and work out their issues in an empathic way.

I see a lot of potential in this idea for generating engagement and fun for the empathy circle with high school students. I’m looking forward to next week to see the outcome and to keep iterating on this idea.

YouTube Video

Link to Video

Prototype 2 - 2015-10-05 
Our second prototype was to play Iron man and Captain America. They are both super heroes but they are entering a civil war because the government wants to register all super heroes and have them be like police officers. Iron man says ok, but Captain America is against it.

Notes about doing the Super hero empathic listening. 

 Link to Video

  YouTube Video 

YouTube Video

Captain America and Iron man Empathy Circle - Lewis & Edwin

What is the basic conflict?  For (Iron Man) and against (Captain America) the registration and regulation of superheroes, having them act like policeman

  • have masks.

  • have a signed (handshake?) agreement to do empathic listening.

  • mediator  -

  • stay in character

  • time 2 hour

Captain America - against registration and oversight - act under official registrations.

“Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with a nearly indestructible shield that he throws at foes. The character is usually depicted as the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young man enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum to aid the United States government's imminent efforts in World War II.

Near the end of the war, he was trapped in ice and survived in suspended animation until he was revived in the present day. Although Captain America often struggles to maintain his ideals as a man out of his time with its modern realities, he remains a highly respected figure in his community which includes becoming the long-time leader of the Avengers.” Wikipedia

Iron Man -  for registration and oversight

"An American billionaire playboy, business magnate, and ingenious engineer, Tony Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. Later, Stark augments his suit with weapons and other technological devices he designed through his company, Stark Industries. He uses the suit and successive versions to protect the world as Iron Man, while at first concealing his true identity. Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism" Wikipedia

Super Hero Empathy Circle Variations

  1. Any Character any subject EC - 5 to 45 min

  2. Characters with conflict previously resolved through beating the shit out of one another - 30 min to 1 hour

  3. Characters entering into a conflict - 3 to 6 hours (Mediator required)

  • (***have masks.?*

  • have a signed (handshake?) agreement to do empathic listening.

  • mediator  - required

  • stay in character

  • time 2 hour***)

The questions below have been categorized to help you organize your feedback. If you need more room please feel free to answer these questions in your own notebook. Be sure to debrief with your teammates after each prototype testing session.

Who, What, Where?

  • Where did you go? - Google Hangouts

  • Who did you test your idea with? - Edwin, Chase

  • What were you testing for? - Reiterating and Prototyping the Concept of SuperHero EC’s

The Good?

  • What did people value the most? - Very simple and easy to run, has the potential to go very deep and produce highly effective results, high energy, strengthens emotional authenticity, integrity, and resilience

  • What got them excited? - Getting to play the role of a SuperHero

  • What convinced them about the idea? - See previous answer

  • The Unexpected? The depth and complexity of the concept

The Bad?

  • What failed? - Keeping to the rules of an EC and the Character of a strongly willed SuperHero

  • Were there suggestions for improvement? - Classify different types of SuperHero EC’s and what they require

  • What needs further investigation? - Nothing necessarily requires investigation, however further prototyping, testing, and reiterating is needed.

The Unexpected?

  • Did anything happen that you didn't expect? - 1 ½ Hours wasn’t long enough to reach resolution between the conflicting parties, additionally, the EC produced strong feelings in the participants on behalf of the characters portrayed, effecting political opinions outside of the circle.