Takano, R. (高野了太), & Nomura, M. (野村理朗) (2020).
Awe liberates the feeling that “my body is mine‘.”
Cognition and Emotion, Advance online publication.
doi: 10.1080/02699931.2020.18627

Awe is an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that transcend one’s current frames of reference. Previous research indicated that awe promotes a smaller self, which led to the creation of a small-self hypothesis. Thus, we shed new light on this hypothesis in terms of sense of body ownership using a rubber hand illusion experiment; through it, we showed that awe evokes an increased sense of body ownership over the rubber hand and this effect was prominent among participants who experienced small self. Our findings suggest that awe might provoke a “liberation of the self” in terms of a sense of body ownership as awe has been thought to liberate existing schemas, hence informing the demonstrable implications of the psychological mechanisms of awe.