Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
J. Patrick Seder & Jonathan D. Haidt
Awe refers to an intense emotional response people may have when they encounter an object, event, or person that is extraordinary. Things that elicit awe are typically vast in size, significance, or both. Frequent elicitors of awe include nature, natural disasters, grand architecture and historical ruins, supernatural or spiritual experiences, scientific or technological marvels, childbirth, and being in the presence of powerful or celebrated individuals. Awe involves some degree of surprise, disbelief, or disorientation as one strives to assimilate the presence of the extraordinary and make it conform to one's expectations, prior experiences, and beliefs about what is possible. Quite often, awe results in the need to alter existing belief structures—sometimes in profound and life-changing ways—to accommodate the experience and its implications. This process of change and reorientation may take moments or days and can range in tone from pleasant to terrifying, depending on the situation and the individual's personality. ...