Truly “awesome” moments can take our breath away. Such feelings of being in a complete and overwhelming sense of awe often leave us searching for words or measures to explain or define the incident.
Now, researchers from Stanford and the University of Minnesota have devised a way to study this feeling of awe in the laboratory. Across three different experiments, they found that jaw-dropping moments made participants feel like they had more time available and made them more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others.
The researchers believe the effects that awe has on decision-making and well-being can be explained by awe’s ability to actually change our subjective experience of time by slowing it down.
That is, experiences of awe help to bring us into the present moment which, in turn, adjusts our perception of time, influences our decisions, and makes life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.
Mind-boggling, or perhaps just awesome!