How The Feeling We Call Awe Helped Humans Conquer the Planet | Smart News | Smithsonian
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How The Feeling We Call Awe Helped Humans Conquer the Planet

Getting your daily dose of awe inspires patience, altruism, and life satisfaction.

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Human Adderall Jason Silva has a new new video out in which he argues that the emotion we call awe evolved for a specific purpose — to inspire us to work harder. Ultimately, he says, the mind-expanding powers of awe led directly to our desire to do things that would generate yet more of it — like going to outer space, commandeering most of the planet’s biological productivity, etc.

Whether or not he’s right, we know that people love things that inspire a sense of awe. And, as it turns out, awe loves you back. As Stanford researchers Melanie Rudd, Kathleen Vohs, and Jennifer Aaker say in their new study ,

xperiencing awe… caused people to perceive they have more time available and lessened impatience. Furthermore, by altering time perception, feeling awe… led participants to more strongly desire to spend time helping others and partake in experiential goods over material ones. A small dose of awe even gave participants a momentary boost in life satisfaction. Thus, these results also have implications for how people spend their time, and underscore the importance and promise of cultivating awe in everyday life.

 

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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