Being in awe can expand time and enhance well-being

whether it's the breathtaking scope of the Grand Canyon, the ethereal beauty of the Aurora Borealis, or the exhilarating view from the top of the Eiffel Tower – at some point in our lives we've all had the feeling of being in a complete and overwhelming sense of awe.

Awe seems to be a universal emotion, but it has been largely neglected by scientists—until now.

Psychological scientists Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management devised a way to study this feeling of awe in the laboratory. Across three different experiments, they found that jaw-dropping moments made participants feel like they had more time available and made them more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others.

The researchers found that the effects that awe has on decision-making and well-being can be explained by awe's ability to actually change our subjective experience of time by slowing it down. Experiences of awe help to brings us into the present moment which, in turn, adjusts our perception of time, influences our decisions, and makes life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.

Now that's awesome.

More information: he study, "Awe Expands People's Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being," will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giving time can give you time

Jul 13, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Many people these days feel a sense of “time famine”—never having enough minutes and hours to do everything. We all know that our objective amount of time can’t be increased (there ...

Powerful people overestimate their height

Jan 09, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- The psychological experience of power makes people feel taller than they are, according to research by ILR School associate professor of organizational behavior Jack Goncalo and a Washington University ...

Study shows loss of control leads to paranormal beliefs

Jul 02, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- People who felt a lack of control in their lives were more likely to believe in the claimed “psychic abilities” of a famous octopus, a University of Queensland (UQ) study has found.

Does power cloud one's ability to make good decisions?

Mar 01, 2012

Grave consequences can result from bad decisions made by people in leadership positions. Case in point: the 2009 Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster. British Petroleum (BP) executives had downplayed potential risks associated ...

Researcher discovers stereotypes can deter consumer purchases

Feb 23, 2011

The perception of negative stereotyping, particularly in the areas of financial services and automobile sales and service, can cause consumers to fear being duped and forgo their purchases, according to new research by University ...

Recommended for you

Offenders turn to mental health services 

1 hour ago

Adult criminal offenders in Western Australian are eight times more likely than non-offenders to use community-based mental health services in the year before their first sentence, a UWA study has found.

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

1 hour ago

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Touch influences how infants learn language

3 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Tickling a baby's toes may be cute but it's also possible that those touches could help babies learn the words in their language. Research from Purdue University shows that a caregiver's ...

User comments