University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Effect of Awe on Future Self

Presenter Information

Taylor West, University of Kentucky

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Research shows that awe, compared to other positive emotions, leads to greater patience, higher helping behavior, and greater life satisfaction (Rudd et al., 2012). Research on temporal discounting shows that the greater self-continuity between our current and future selves we feel, the more likely we delay gratifications. The present research aimed at synthesizing these two lines of research by examining whether awe would enhance self-continuity between the two selves. We hypothesized that awe, relative to another positive emotion, would increase similarity between two selves, a measure for self-continuity. 116 participants were randomly assigned to either majestic nature or baby animal images condition. Research shows that nature images elicit awe, while animal ones elicit affection (Shiota et al., 2007). Afterwards, they completed mood items and an assessment of their current and future selves. We analyzed the data using an independent t-test. In both conditions, participants reported a similar, high level of happiness, indicating the emotions generated by images were positive. However, participants in the awe condition reported stronger feelings of being inspired, calm, grateful, humble and insignificant than did those in the affection condition. As expected, participants in the awe condition reported significantly greater similarity between their current and future selves (M = 4.54, SD = 1.32) than those in the affection condition (M = 4.05, SD = 1.42), t(109) = 1.85, p < .03, r = .17. In sum, adding to benefits shown by previous research, the present study suggests another potential benefit of awe: Enhancing positivity toward future self.

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Effect of Awe on Future Self

Research shows that awe, compared to other positive emotions, leads to greater patience, higher helping behavior, and greater life satisfaction (Rudd et al., 2012). Research on temporal discounting shows that the greater self-continuity between our current and future selves we feel, the more likely we delay gratifications. The present research aimed at synthesizing these two lines of research by examining whether awe would enhance self-continuity between the two selves. We hypothesized that awe, relative to another positive emotion, would increase similarity between two selves, a measure for self-continuity. 116 participants were randomly assigned to either majestic nature or baby animal images condition. Research shows that nature images elicit awe, while animal ones elicit affection (Shiota et al., 2007). Afterwards, they completed mood items and an assessment of their current and future selves. We analyzed the data using an independent t-test. In both conditions, participants reported a similar, high level of happiness, indicating the emotions generated by images were positive. However, participants in the awe condition reported stronger feelings of being inspired, calm, grateful, humble and insignificant than did those in the affection condition. As expected, participants in the awe condition reported significantly greater similarity between their current and future selves (M = 4.54, SD = 1.32) than those in the affection condition (M = 4.05, SD = 1.42), t(109) = 1.85, p < .03, r = .17. In sum, adding to benefits shown by previous research, the present study suggests another potential benefit of awe: Enhancing positivity toward future self.