Weekly Reflection 6- Personal Contributions

Weekly Reflection 6- Personal Contributions

July 29, 2018

Since starting at my project six weeks ago, I feel like I have made many personal contributions that have been relatively visible. Firstly, I planned and executed a series of educational seminars in the evenings regarding sexual and reproductive health. I taught the girls about the inner workings and anatomy of the female and male reproductive system. In addition, we discussed safe sex, healthy relationships, exercise, and personal hygiene. The girls don’t get this sort of education in their schools, so they found this seminar engaging and informational. It ended up lasting an hour longer than we had scheduled, and they had many questions that they eventually felt comfortable asking. I also worked one-on-one with girls to apply to colleges and jobs. In addition, throughout the past few months I have created and promoted my own fundraiser to create a college fund for the women of Pippi House. I raised almost $1500, and I have been able to sponsor 4 different women to get college degrees. I think this might be my longest lasting impact on Pippi House—once these girls get educated and get jobs, they can support themselves and they won’t have to depend on Pippi House to provide them with food, shelter, and other needs. They will also be able to have their own stream of income and hopefully give some of it back to support the girls in Pippi House that come after them. I have created lasting relationships with the women that I spent most of my time with at Pippi House. I worked with them on their studies, whether it was English, math, science, or geography. I set up a Facebook business page for the Pippi House recording studio complete with contact information, business hours, services offered, and location. I advertised this Facebook page in Arusha buy/sell forums, so hopefully the Pippi House recording studio will attract more customers and create a reliable and steady stream of income to support the women. I also worked with four nurses who were volunteering at Pippi House to conduct a first aid/CPR training program. We gave the girls demonstrations and specific instructions/steps on how to resuscitate someone who has stopped breathing. We also covered how to deal with choking, injury, and burns. I taught the women some songs/basic instrument skills, and they loved to practice and perform with me. We also did some basic dance, drawing, and acting lessons to liven up the days that were gloomy. My work at Pippi House was extremely rewarding, and I hope that it will make long term improvements in the lives of the women/children at Pippi House!

Additional Sources/Faculty Mentor

I have a confirmed faculty advisor!! I will be working with Dr. Hoyt and conducting research alongside her next year.

5 additional sources that I think will be important for my research:

  1. The Resurgence of Awe in Psychology: Promise, Hope, and Perils- Kirk Schneider

2. Krause, N., Pargament, K. I., Hill, P. C., & Ironson, G. (2016). Humility, stressful life events, and psychological well-being: Findings from the landmark spirituality and health survey. The Journal of Positive Psy- chology, 1–12.

3. Keltner, D., Ellsworth, P. C., & Edwards, K. (1993). Beyond simple pessimism: Effects of sadness and anger on social perception. Journal of personality and social psychology, 64, 740–752.

4. Keltner, D., & Haidt, J. (2003). Approaching awe, a moral, spiritual, and aesthetic emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 17, 297–314. http://dx.doi .org/10.1080/02699930302297

5. Keltner, D., Kogan, A., Piff, P. K., & Saturn, S. R. (2014). The sociocul- tural appraisals, values, and emotions (SAVE) framework of prosocial- ity: Core processes from gene to meme. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 425–460. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115054

6. Keltner, D., & Shiota, M. N. (2003). New displays and new emotions: A commentary on Rozin and Cohen (2003). Emotion, 3, 86–91. http://dx .doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.3.1.86


Tangney, J. P. (2002). Humility. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.),Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 411–419). London: Oxford Uni- versity Press.


For my project, I will be conducting psychological research about the effects of awe on a person’s psyche. It will be using methods from the social sciences.  I need to look into specifics on measurement scales to use to measure my constructs. Some further research might include looking deeper into previous research studies to see how they measured awe, and how they separated awe from other emotions that might have been felt during awe-inducing situations. I think I will need to use a variety of techniques to extract all the variables I am hoping to measure from my participants. I know I will need some self-report survey questions to measure not only the feelings of awe, but the self-rated health and well-being as well. I think I will also need an extensive literature review at the beginning of my thesis to explain how I developed my hypothesis and why I think that awe is related to well-being in the first place.

I will need access to participants. I think one of the biggest challenges that I will face is gathering a large and diverse enough sample to make large, generalizing conclusions. I haven’t decided yet whether it would be better to focus my sample on real live people coming into a lab situation on campus, or whether I want to create a strictly online experiment that can be administered through Amazon Turk. There are definitely pros and cons of both types of audiences, and I will need to discuss further with an advisor on which would be the more appropriate technique. I also will need to get my experiment approved by the IRB. This could be difficult if I choose to use a lab setting in which I expose my participants to awe. If awe does create lasting brain changes like I’m hoping I can prove, then it might be tricky to get participants to agree under such conditions.

If I do obtain significant results from my experiment, I think I can use my findings in a variety of applications. Depending on what I discover are the aftereffects of experiencing awe, I can use manufactured experiences of awe to get people to be healthier, more pro-social, or just happier. These applications can be relevant in a business setting to make more cohesive work groups, in a therapy setting to help a person deal with mental illness or overcome trauma, or even in recreational settings to enrich people’s lives in general with more positive emotions. I hope that I can frame a situation in which people can experience awe at all ages that has positive effects on their wellbeing in general.

Paragraph about Faculty Meeting

A while ago I met with Dr. Hoyt, and she passed along a bunch of important sources to look at in regards to my topic. She suggested a few different articles, and some of them even overlapped with articles suggested by Dr. Allison, a psychology professor that researches heroism. I am concerned about methodology of my study. I want to create an experiment that encapsulates what it is like to truly feel awed by nature or an incredible experience, but I don’t know if this can be captured in a laboratory setting. I also don’t know how easy it will be to get approval from the IRB for something like this. I think working on Amazon Turk would be a good strategy to getting a widespread, diverse population sample, but I am worried that this sort of scenario will not produce the genuine feelings of awe that I am after. I think I need to do more research into the types of awe that I want to elicit, and I also need to narrow down what variables to look at as my independent variables. I want to use variables that might be effective in a therapeutic setting that focus on personal wellbeing and health, but I don’t know how I will be able to measure such things especially if I am using Amazon Turk as my platform. The details of my research design are going to be what need the most work.

Research Questions

  1. Does experiencing awe have lasting effects on a person’s personality and/or behaviors?
  2. Are these changes pro-social or anti-social?
  3. Does the context in which the awe is experienced mediate these effects?

Awe Expands the Perception of Time

this article did experiments to place people under conditions of awe. These conditions were compared to a control group that was primed to feel happiness. It showed that people who experienced awe felt like they had more time which in turn led to prosocial behaviors like donating money/time. This article helped me come up with a few new research questions to explore:

Is sense of time a mediating factor between awe and behavior?

Are there other factors that explain behavioral changes that result from feelings of awe?

What are some benefits and costs of feeling like one has more time?

Does knowing that one is in an “awe” condition affect the results of an experiment? do I have to create a sneaky experience of awe to get valid results?

Would we see the same results if the authors had used a negative kind of awe?


Hopefully by reading more of the literature on this topic I can start to answer these questions and find a more direct question to answer with my own research.

Notes on an Article

391c2317d60fcde56fb3968146fc7e2efb68 I highlighted and made notes throughout this article. it is about the different types of awe and how they are experienced. It analyzes awe from many different sources including nature, art, and extraordinary human abilities. Usually when I read scientific articles like this I read it all the way through and make a few bullet notes at the end. In this article, I highlighted and made notes about things I could do further research into as I go along. I also highlighted some sources and citations I think will be helpful further down the road as well. Instead of strictly reading to get this gist of this article, I think I am more using this article as a stepping stone to many other sources of information that will be helpful for my research.

Zotero Bibliography- 25 Potential sources

391c2317d60fcde56fb3968146fc7e2efb68.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c338/391c2317d60fcde56fb3968146fc7e2efb68.pdf

2014-33757-001.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2014-33757-001.pdf

2017-05271-001.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2017-05271-001.pdf

2017-37794-001.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2017-37794-001.pdf

0956797612438731.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956797612438731

Awe May Promote Altruistic Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/05/altruistic-behavior.aspx

Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Wilson, A. L., LoTempio, E., & Beit-Hallahmi, B. (2011). Exploring the atheist personality: well-being, awe, and magical thinking in atheists, Buddhists, and Christians. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 14(7), 659–672. https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2010.509847

Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2018). Adult Development and Aging (8th ed.). Wadsworth.

cns-cns0000086.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/cns-cns0000086.pdf

Craft, S., & Zubatsky, M. (2013). Support Groups. In R. Emery, Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia. 2455 Teller Road,  Thousand Oaks  California  91320  United States: SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452274447.n423

emo-emo0000387.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/emo-emo0000387.pdf

Forsyth, D. (n.d.). Group Dynamics (7th ed.). Wadsworth.

Gender Clinics. (2016). In A. E. Goldberg, The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, California 91320: SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483371283.n166

Harrell, A., & Simpson, B. (2016). The Dynamics of Prosocial Leadership: Power and Influence in Collective Action Groups. Social Forces, 94(3), 1283–1308.

Keltner, D., & Haidt, J. (2003). Approaching awe, a moral, spiritual, and aesthetic emotion. Cognition & Emotion, 17(2), 297.

Lichtenberg, J. (2015). Awe: Its Bidirectional Power—Veneration and Inspiration or Dread and Inhibition. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(1), 95–100. https://doi.org/10.1080/07351690.2014.957138

Piff, P., & Keltner, D. (2015, May 22). Opinion | Why Do We Experience Awe? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/opinion/sunday/why-do-we-experience-awe.html

psp-pspi0000018.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-pspi0000018.pdf

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/rel/index.aspx

PsycNET. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://psycnet.apa.org/search/display?id=c6a1bde1-00a3-a95e-c4d3-d2b71ae63d6e&recordId=2&tab=all&page=1&display=25&sort=PublicationYearMSSort%20desc,AuthorSort%20asc&sr=1

PsycNET Record Display – PsycNET. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-01915-002

Shiota, M. N., Keltner, D., & Mossman, A. (2007). The nature of awe: Elicitors, appraisals, and effects on self-concept. Cognition & Emotion, 21(5), 944–963. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699930600923668

Spirituality in Clinical Practice. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/scp/index.aspx

The Muse | Psychoanalytic Explorations of Creative Inspiration | Taylor & Francis Group. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781317510857

What Role Do Religion and Spirituality Play In Mental Health? (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/03/religion-spirituality.aspx