Awe has been defined as an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that overwhelm current mental structures, yet facilitate attempts at accommodation. Four studies are presented showing the information-focused nature of awe elicitors, documenting the self-diminishing effects of awe experience, and exploring the effects of awe on the content of the self-concept. Study 1 documented the information-focused, asocial nature of awe elicitors in participant narratives. Study 2 contrasted the stimulus-focused, self-diminishing nature of appraisals and feelings associated with a prototypical awe experience with the self-focused appraisals and feelings associated with pride. Study 3 found that dispositional awe-proneness, but not dispositional joy or pride, was associated with low Need for Cognitive Closure, and also documented a relationship between dispositional awe and increased emphasis on membership in "universal" categories in participants' self-concepts. Study 4 replicated the self-concept finding from Study 3 using experimentally elicited awe. Implications for future work on awe are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)