295 The Power of Awe!

Based on research done by Piff, Paul. K., Dietze, Pia., Feinberg, Matthew., Stancato, Daniel. M., & Keltner, Dacher, (2015) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

Can awe or wonder outside of our own regular experience transport us from our everyday concerns and inspire us to help others and our community?

Over 2000 participants across five studies helped researchers test this idea. The first four studies demonstrated that a person’s overall disposition and inclination to experience awe predicted more generosity, less feelings of entitlement, increased ethical decisions and positive social and community values.

The fifth study took participants to different settings: amongst towering trees or towering buildings to view these objects for one minute, then rate their emotional experiences. Participants in the nature experience reported greater awe experiences and less anger than participants who viewed the tall buildings. Then, examiners staged an “accident” where pens spilled in front of both groups of individuals. Participants in awe inspiring nature, gathered up more pens, thus were more helpful than in the buildings setting. Results further demonstrated that experiencing awe created less focus on selfish interest, more on seeing oneself as part of life, of humanity, thus doing more good in the world.

What experiences inspire awe for you? Try nature, to enhance family, friends, and community concern for each other and our country!


Piff, P. K., Dietze, P., Feinberg, M., Stancato, D. M., & Keltner, D. (2015). Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology108(6), 883-899.

Show More
Back to top button