Awe - Dacher Keltner - Neuroscience

Awe - Dacher Keltner - Neuroscience

The Science of Awe: Why Wonder Boosts Happiness, Health, and Connection

In our latest episode, host Dr. Dan Stickler delves deep into the world of emotions with special guest Dacher Keltner, to unpack the transformative power of awe. 

In our fast-paced society, seeking awe may be low on our list of priorities. But we might be underestimating its power. Our thought-provoking discussion explores the intricacies of awe as an emotional state, the unique psychological and physiological responses associated with awe, the neuroscience of awe, and the intersection of awe with psychedelic experiences. What’s more, we highlight the societal implications of fostering more awe experiences in everyday life. 

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why awe is an emotion is distinct from emotions like happiness and fear, often leading to a diminished sense of self and a connection to something larger.
  • The psychological changes (sense of connection and curiosity) and physiological responses (vagal tone, oxytocin release) that are linked to the emotion of awe.
  • How awe can be cultivated through specific practices, like awe walks, or by immersing oneself in music, art, or nature-focused contemplation.
  • Why awe helps us feel more connected to the people in our lives and to humanity as a whole.
  • The potential for awe to be integrated into institutions like education, healthcare, and museums, enhancing societal well-being.
  • How psychedelics can be used to create awe-induced states.  
When you feel awe, the default mode network in your brain is deactivated... It's the opposite of 'fight or flight' physiology. – Dacher Keltner

The conversation is educational, beautiful, and heartwarming, leaving you more aware of just how vital incorporating awe experiences into everyday life is to live a life full of purpose. Listen in now.  

And be sure to read our complementary article: The Science of Awe: Why Wonder Boosts Happiness, Health, and Connection.

Related Links
Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life
Greater Good Science Center
The Science of Happiness Podcast


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