Feeling awestruck shifts our mindset toward the greater good


"Awesome" has become a common descriptor, yet genuine awe is a profound emotion: the intake of breath at a starry night sky, goose bumps during soaring music or tearing up at the sight of a vast crowd holding candles aloft. Can this feeling make us better people? A recent paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that it does.

Philosophers long ago suggested that awe binds people together, explains lead author Paul Piff, an assistant professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine, who began his investigation of awe in Dacher Keltner's lab at the University of California, Berkeley. This new research, he says, proves that awe can make people less self-involved and more attuned to the needs of the larger group. ...[Continue reading on Scientificamerican]