I’m traveling to the Heartland Climate Conference today. Special speakers dinner and pep talk later, and, rumor has it, cigars and whiskey.
I started that rumor, and I have cigars, so it has a good chance of obtaining. I don’t know who will provide the whiskey. Stay tuned: Thursday through Saturday, I’ll be blogging about the event.
Meanwhile, I present this most scientific “study”, brought to our attention by reader Gavin (not that Gavin).
During a series of studies recently published by the American Psychological Association in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” Piff and his team of researchers found that inducing a sense of awe in people could promote generous, helpful, and positive social behavior.
“We find that awe makes people more ethical, less entitled, more cooperative — all of which often play key roles in organizational and workplace success,” Piff explained to Business Insider.
During one study, for example, researchers had a group of volunteers stand in a grove of towering trees and look up at them for one minute while another group looked instead at a tall building. Then experimenters spilled a handful of pens, seemingly by accident, and volunteers in awe of the vast trees were deemed to be the most helpful in picking them up.
Wee p-values confirmed the massive awes. Not only that, I myself have confirmed this “research”. I am very tall and find that many people, doubtless in awe of me, often pick up the objects I drop. What more proof do you need?
What’s the saying? Something like: If research in the “soft sciences” isn’t commonsense, it’s false. At least we now know, thanks to researcher Piff (his real name), “Awe is an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that transcend current frames of reference.” Maybe this is why Tom Cruise wears lifts.
From the abstract:
Guided by conceptual analyses of awe as a collective emotion…we tested the hypothesis that awe can result in a diminishment of the individual self and its concerns…[D]ispositional tendencies to experience awe predicted greater generosity in an economic game above and beyond other prosocial emotions …[I]nductions of awe…increased ethical decision-making.
We also learn that “the effects of awe on prosociality are explained, in part, by feelings of a small self.” Perhaps this is why I am antisocial. More work clearly needs to be done to study the “inability to awe” in the tall.
But wait, there’s more. Here comes the Uh-oh: “These findings indicate that awe may help situate individuals within broader social contexts and enhance collective concern.”
Our findings should be extended and expanded upon in several ways. Building on the current research, investigations should further illuminate the sufficient features and necessary conditions of experiences of awe. In this regard, examining the interplay between vastness and accommodation will be particularly fruitful.
It can’t be long until “programs”, administered by your better sort of government bureaucracy, are suggested which will instill awe.
Listen: on a scale of -7/5 to e11, how in awe are you of this study? Your answer will be a number, and will, therefore and ipso facto, be scientific. By answering, you are doing science.
We don’t need to worry about putting a number to an emotion (or thought) as complex as awe, because science often puts numbers to emotions (or thoughts) as complex as awe, as we just did. This is how you know the number you have provided accurately measures awe. Because we measured awe with a number. And numbers are scientific.
Science really is amazing, isn’t it? We’d be nowhere without it. Imagine not being able to put a number to an emotion (or thought) as complex as awe! Why, then we wouldn’t have numbers for emotions (or thoughts) like awe! And then we couldn’t have wee p-values!
I’m now going to have a cigar and as much whiskey as it takes to forget this.