No One Is an Island: Awe Encourages Global Citizenship Identification

Minjae Seo, Shiyu Yang, Sean M. Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent theorizing has suggested that awe is a collective emotion, as research has demonstrated a clear link between experiencing awe and behaving prosocially. The present research extends past work by investigating the scope and sources of awe-inspired prosociality, focusing on whether awe’s effects extend beyond local/national interests to include global or humanitarian goals. Specifically, we examine how by increasing feelings of smallness, awe encourages a sense of global citizenship, promoting cosmopolitan (vs. parochial) prosociality. Four experiments found that varied awe elicitors (recall, pictures, videos) and cues (universe, peaceful/fearful nature scenes) boost global citizenship identification by first increasing perception of the self as small. Downstream effects included greater valuing of interconnectedness (Experiment 2) and higher appreciation of diversity (Experiment 3). In Experiment 4, awe— through small self and global citizenship—further translated into larger donation allocations to global (vs. local) charities. Given global problems such as pandemics and climate change, our findings have implications for how emotions can promote a sense of shared responsibility when commitment across borders is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-612
Number of pages12
JournalEmotion
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 8 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology

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