In a new research article, Blum Center Associate Director Paul Piff, along with Sean Goldy and Nickolas Jones, suggest that “awesome” natural events we witness in our daily lives can affect us – making us more humble, caring, and focused on the well-being of the collective. 

The research goes beyond laboratory experiments. The researchers used the total solar eclipse from 2017 and tweets that were posted by those in its path. They concluded that people who witnessed the eclipse tweeted more awe-related words and focused on “we” rather than “I.” When people experience “earthbound awe-inspiring events” like the eclipse, they become more oriented toward collectives than on themselves as individuals, and they lean more towards kindness and caring towards others. 

Overall, these studies continue to explore the result of natural awe-inspiring events or aspects of our lives and help explain the humble and caring after effects. 

Want to read more? The research was covered in the Wall Street Journal! The full journal article is available here.