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Sep 23, 2018

The development of the Awe Experience Scale

Awe is a complex emotion composed of an appraisal of vastness and a need for accommodation. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust state measure of awe, the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S), based on the extant experimental literature. In study 1, participants (N = 501) wrote about an intense moment of awe that they had experienced and then completed a survey about their experience. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a 6-factor structure, including: altered time perception (F1); self-diminishment (F2); connectedness (F3); perceived vastness (F4); physical sensations (F5); need for accommodation (F6). Internal consistency was strong for each factor (α ≥ .80). Study 2 confirmed the 6-factor structure (N = 636) using fit indices (CFI = .905; RMSEA = .054). Each factor of the AWES is significantly correlated with the awe items of the modified Differential Emotions Scale (mDES) and Dispositional Positive Emotion Scale (D-PES). Triggers, valence, and themes associated with awe experiences are reported.

To cite this research:

Yaden, D.B. Kaufman, S.B., Hyde, E., Chirico, A., Gaggioli, A., Zhang, J.W., Keltner, D. (2018) The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S): A multifactorial measure for a complex emotion, The Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2018.1484940

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