Awe: “More Than a Feeling”

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Abstract

In this article, the authors elaborate on 2 ideas advanced in Schneider’s (2017) innovative article on the resurgence of awe in psychology. Taking a cue from his claim to recover a “slow simmer form” of awe (i.e., deeper, destabilizing, challenging, and ambiguous) using mixed-methods, the authors highlight the need to reframe the concept of awe as closer to an experience than to an emotion. This implies focusing not only on a mixed-methodology to study awe but also on a new way of inducing it. Specifically, if awe is considered as an experience, an experiential approach would be required to induce it. The authors provided examples of recent studies that relied on Virtual Reality (VR) as an effective experiential approach to elicit the “slow simmer form” of awe in the lab. A controlled induction of awe through VR can lead to more intense awe, thus drawing near the desired “slow simmer form.” Schneider’s claim can provide the theoretical underpinning to support this new conceptualization of awe as an experience as well as its experimental investigation.

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