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How Awe Brings People Together

Vivian’s Take: Creating more moments of “awe” in our lives. Think about that!

Article By Jill Suttie

Painting of horseA series of experiments suggest that awe causes us to have a smaller sense of self, which shapes our social networks in positive ways.

Many of us know the pleasures of feeling awe. Whether hiking majestic peaks, admiring great art, or watching the birth of a child, experiences like these fill us with a sense of wonder, challenging our understanding of the world and our place in it.

Now a new study sheds some light on awe’s unique function. Through a series of experiments, an international team of researchers were able to show that experiences of awe diminish our sense of self-importance, creating a “small self” perspective that seems to aid us in forming social groups. But, while many of us know it when we feel it, science has not understood awe as an emotion very well. Though research suggests awe increases our well-being and leads us to be more altruistic and generous, it’s still not clear why that would be.

Yang Bai—a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the paper’s authors—believes her research lends insight into awe’s evolutionary purpose. Awe helps you to stop focusing so much on yourself and……Read More:


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