STUDY ALERT: The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S)

by Scott Barry Kaufman, July 18, 2018 in Study Alerts, Blog

The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S): A multifactorial measure for a complex emotion

David B. Yaden, Scott Barry Kaufman, Elizabeth Hyde, Alice Chirico, Andrea Gaggioli, Jia Wei Zhang, Dacher Keltner


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 AWE-S 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.

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One Response to “STUDY ALERT: The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S)”

  1. This is ”awe”some. I did my disertation using Konecni’s work on the aestetic trinity:

    Konecni, V. J. (2005). The aesthetic trinity: Awe, being moved, thrills. Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts. Vol. 5, pp. 27–44.

    …among other studies. I tried to cuantify emotional responses to literary fragments derived from transgressive fiction and could have really used such a scale.

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