Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Greg J. Feist


Affective, Awe, Depression, Hopelessness, Positive Emotions, Rumination

Subject Areas



This study investigated the effects of awe, as a positive emotion, in ameliorating

depressive symptoms such as hopelessness and rumination. Previous research indicates that awe is unique compared to other positive emotions in that is elicited by information rich-stimuli that facilitate shifts in cognition as one attempts to accommodate this new information to their current frame of reference. In addition, awe was found incite a self- diminishing effect that contrast the inflated significance one places on the self, during negative self-referential thinking (e.g. hopelessness). We hypothesized that exposure to an awe stimuli (video) would prompt subjects to feel less hopeless than those exposed to an amusing stimuli (video), with amusement as a control. Furthermore, we hypothesized that levels of awe could predict hopelessness above and beyond demographics and neuroticism, a predictor of negative affect. Lastly, we explored if being in the awe condition effects brooding rumination as the tendency to focus on the negative outcomes of a situation. We tested these hypothesis with an online sample (N=271) and did not find a significant mean difference in hopelessness between conditions, however we did find that being in the awe condition and experiencing higher levels of awe does predict hopelessness beyond neuroticism. Furthermore, we discovered that awe does marginally predict brooding rumination. While strictly experimental research is encouraged to further test these results, the current findings offer evidence that greater experiences of awe are promising predictors of depressive symptoms.