Awe Expands Peoples Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being

Awe Expands Peoples Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being

By Jennifer Aaker, Melani Rudd, Kathleen Vohs
2012Working Paper No. 2095

When do people feel as if they are rich in time? Not often, research and daily experience suggest. However, three experiments showed that participants who felt awe, relative to other emotions, felt they had more time available (Experiments 1, 3) and were less impatient (Experiment 2). Participants who experienced awe were also more willing to volunteer their time to help others (Experiment 2), more strongly preferred experiences over material products (Experiment 3), and experienced a greater boost in life satisfaction (Experiment 3). Mediation analyses revealed that these changes in decision making and well-being were due to awes ability to alter the subjective experience of time. Experiences of awe bring people into the present moment, which underlies awes capacity to adjust time perception, influence decisions, and make life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.