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Awe is a feeling of wonder and amazement in response to experiencing something so vast that it transcends one's current frames of reference. Across three experiments (N = 557), we tested the inhibition effect of awe on aggression. We used a narrative recall task paradigm (Studies 1 and 2) and a video (Study 3) to induce the emotion of awe. After inducing awe, we first examined participants’ emotion and their sense of ‘small self’, and then the manifestation of aggressiveness in a Shooting Game (Study 1), Tangram Help/Hurt Task (Studies 2 and 3) and Aggression-IAT (Study 3), respectively. Results indicated that awe reduced aggression and increased prosociality and a sense of small self relative to neutral affect and positive emotions of happiness and amusement. Mediation analyses evidenced mixed support for a sense of small self mediating the effect of awe on aggression and prosociality.
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