Awe inspiring help: Awe as a sacred trigger for prosocial behaviour

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Rok publikování 2016
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Both in the past and in the present, religious systems have given rise to awe-inspiring structures. It has been posited that these structures facilitated social cooperation on large scales, possibly by reminding believers about the existence of forces even more vast than the structure itself. In a recent study series, Piff and colleagues (JPSP 2015 Vol. 108) used a priming experimental paradigm in demonstrating that awe can produce a sense of relative smallness and subsequent prosociality in all people rather than only believers. More specifically, participants shown a video of an awe-inspiring tornado rather than videos eliciting neutral emotions or amusement reported a greater sense of smallness. The sense of smallness, in turn, was found to act as a mediator for level of cooperation displayed in a survey-based measure. We report the results of follow-up priming study with a novel behavioural measure of prosociality and a carefully selected awe-inspiring video that did not explicitly show a vast force. Moreover, our study included pre-experimental measures of religiosity, spirituality and relevant personality constructs. We found that helpfulness levels in a voluntary tedious task were higher in the awe condition relative to the other two, albeit only for people reporting some religious or spiritual belief alongside high levels of the “openness to experience” personality trait. Our results are consistent with the proposal that awe comes to be associated with moral standards via cultural socialisation and ritual participation contingent on some level of religious or spiritual belief.
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