Awe expands people's perception of time, alters decision making, and enhances well-being

Psychol Sci. 2012 Oct 1;23(10):1130-6. doi: 10.1177/0956797612438731. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


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 and 3) and were less impatient (Experiment 2). Participants who experienced awe also were more willing to volunteer their time to help other people (Experiment 2), more strongly preferred experiences over material products (Experiment 3), and experienced greater 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, and being in the present moment underlies awe's capacity to adjust time perception, influence decisions, and make life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Students / psychology
  • Time Perception / physiology*