Cosmic Awe, Self-Esteem, and Materialism

The Effects of Awe and Self-Esteem on Materialist Values and Beliefs


  • Emmet McCurdy MacEwan University


Experiencing awe (a self transcendent shift in perspective) has been shown to increase generosity, spirituality, and prosociality, reduce tribalism, and reduce inclination towards conspicuous consumption. The present research aims to investigate the effects of experiencing awe on individuals’ endorsement of materialistic values and beliefs through an online experimental design. It is hypothesized that induction of awe will result in decreased endorsement of materialism, as the self-transcendental nature of the experience minimizes self-focused goals and encourages greater prosocial and achievement motivations.

Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)

Faculty Mentor: David Watson

Department: Psychology