Study: Awe-Inspiring Experiences Change Our Perception of Time

The Atlantic:

Here’s a question addressed straight to the soul (and the hippocampus): what are your most memorable moments of awe?

If you’re like me, those moments are a bit difficult to specify and describe. If I really put my mind to it, images of a particularly fantastic (and almost destructive) fireworks display, as well as a car ride through the mountains of Wyoming, resurface.

Admittedly, awe is a tricky thing to qualify– and for that matter, to quantify. As a subjective emotion, it’s going to be felt differently by each individual, and for different reasons. What one person considers an awesome sight or experience might be met with ambivalence in another.

Still, a new study by three psychology scientists (forthcoming in Psychological Science) offers valuable insight into the universal power of awe.

Although the study looks to investigate several aspects of this emotion, the initial — and perhaps most intriguing– hypothesis is pretty striking: the experience of awe will expand your perception of time.

In order to prove this theory, and to better understand the effects of awe on the human psyche, scientists Rudd, Vohs, and Aaker conducted three experiments.

Read the whole story: The Atlantic

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