Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Kimberly Quinn, PhD
Verena Graupmann, PhD
Awe, as a complex positive emotion that mixes wonder, veneration, and/or dread, has been shown to induce a small sense of self. In the current research, we focused on the question of whether sharing an awe experience has an impact on that experience. We conducted two studies in which we explored the effects of “collective awe” as it relates to awe intensity, awe-related emotions, self-diminishment, and wellbeing. In addition, based on previous research, we hypothesized that participants with higher awe intensity ratings and awe-related emotion scores would score higher on self-diminishment and wellbeing measures than participants with lower awe intensity ratings and awe-related emotion scores. In Study 1, participants wrote about a time when they experienced awe as either an individual or shared experience. Study 2 participants watched an awe-inducing or neutral video, either alone or with another person. In both studies, participants completed measures of awe and awe-related emotions, self-diminishment, and wellbeing. We found little evidence that shared and individual awe experiences differ. There was also conflicting evidence for the hypothesized impact of awe on self-diminishment. Lastly, we found some evidence in support for the hypothesized impact of awe on wellbeing. Future research is needed to understand the impact of shared experience on awe and how it is associated with different aspects of self-diminishment as well as how and when it is associated with wellbeing.
Szekely, Martha, "Collective Awe: The Effects of Shared Experience" (2021). College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations. 384.