As per a new study, Einstein, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Newton, Jesus, Mandela, Edison, Lincoln and the Buddha all make up the top 10 heroes in world history.


As regards the villains, the first 10 positions are occupied by Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Genghis Khan, Saladin, the emperor Qin and Napoleon.

This classification into heroes and villains is the result of a study carried out jointly across the world by various universities, including the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country.

6,902 university students voluntarily participated in this international research; their average age was 23 and they were drawn from 37 countries, such as Argentina, Australia, Pakistan, South Korea, USA, India, Tunisia, Italy, Japan. The work was based on the evaluation that these young adults have made of 40 figures and significant events in world history.

The results of the evaluation have been and assert that historical figures help to create the base for building the transmission of moral lessons and that the facts constitute ways of acting.

UPV/EHU’s Dario Paez said that this study is linked to a previous piece of work carried out in 30 countries and in which young adults were asked to name the most important figures and events in world history.

The results confirm that there is fairly clear consensus between the different cultures as to who the “heroes” in world history are, but there is much greater discrepancy about who the “villains” are.

The heroes are clearly scientists, discoverers and people who fought for liberties and progress and by contrast, the differentiation among the villains is much greater. Even if in almost all cultures the top villain, the worst rated, is Hitler, there is variability in some cultures in which he is evaluated less negatively, above all among the more recent villains like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush, the latter being clear proof of the loss of symbolic power of American society worldwide, concluded Paez.

They study is published in the Plos One scientific journal.