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Approaching awe, a moral, spiritual, and aesthetic emotion

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Abstract:

In this paper we present a prototype approach to awe. We suggest that two appraisals are central and are present in all clear cases of awe: perceived vastness, and a need for accommodation, defined as an inability to assimilate an experience into current mental structures. Five additional appraisals account for variation in the hedonic tone of awe experiences: threat, beauty, exceptional ability, virtue, and the supernatural. We derive this perspective from a review of what has been written about awe in religion, philosophy, sociology, and psychology, and then we apply this perspective to an analysis of awe and related states such as admiration, elevation, and the epiphanic experience.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699930302297

Affiliations: 1: University of California at Berkeley, USA 2: University of Virginia, Charlottsville, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

psych/pcem/2003/00000017/00000002/art00007
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