Can You Quantify Awe?

A few weeks ago we looked at the “Awe” experience as one of the ways of living a good life. For those of you interested in exploring Awe deeper, I ran across this article in Scientific American, Can You Quantify Awe? 

It includes a list of six facets of Awe

Vastness (“I felt in the presence of something grand”)
Need for Accommodation (“I felt challenged to mentally process what I was experiencing”)
Time (“I sensed things momentarily slow down”)
Self-diminishment (“I felt that my sense of self was diminished”)
Connectedness (“I had the sense of being connected to everything”)
Physical Sensations (“I felt my jaw drop”)

and important variables…

The greater the experience of awe, the higher the rated intensity of the experience.

The experience of awe was related to heightened feelings of wonder, curiosity, inspiration, contentedness, appreciation, love, trust, happiness, and joyfulness.

The only uncomfortable emotions that were uniquely related to the awe experience were “stressed, nervous, overwhelmed.” This is consistent with awe being a unique mix of exaltation and fear/reverence.

The largest personality trait associated with the awe experience was openness to experience. This makes sense, considering that openness to experience is also related to a number of other self-transcendent experiences, including flow, absorption, appreciation of beauty, and romantic love.

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