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Awe Expands People's Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being


  • Rudd, Melanie

    (Stanford University)

  • Vohs, Kathleen D.

    (University of MN)

  • Aaker, Jennifer

    (Stanford University)


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 awe's ability to alter the subjective experience of time. Experiences of awe bring people into the present moment, which underlies awe's capacity to adjust time perception, influence decisions, and make life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudd, Melanie & Vohs, Kathleen D. & Aaker, Jennifer, 2012. "Awe Expands People's Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being," Research Papers 2095, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2095

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Jeremy Hunter, 2003. "Happiness in Everyday Life: The Uses of Experience Sampling," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 185-199, June.
    2. Strober, Myra H & Weinberg, Charles B, 1980. " Strategies Used by Working and Nonworking Wives to Reduce Time Pressures," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 338-348, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Septianto, Felix & Tjiptono, Fandy, 2019. "The interactive effect of emotional appeals and past performance of a charity on the effectiveness of charitable advertising," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 189-198.
    2. Ibanez, Lisette & Moureau, Nathalie & Roussel, S├ębastien, 2017. "How do incidental emotions impact pro-environmental behavior? Evidence from the dictator game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 150-155.
    3. Wang, Lili & Lyu, Jiaying, 2019. "Inspiring awe through tourism and its consequence," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 106-116.
    4. Ainsworth, Jeremy, 2020. "Feelings of ownership and volunteering: Examining psychological ownership as a volunteering motivation for nonprofit service organisations," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    5. Hafenbrack, Andrew C., 2017. "Mindfulness Meditation as an On-The-Spot Workplace Intervention," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 118-129.

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