Experimentally distinguishing elevation from gratitude: Oh the morality

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Experimentally distinguishing elevation from gratitude: Oh the morality

Elevation has garnered empirical support as the emotional response to witnessing moral beauty. The current studies investigated elevation’s construct validity by experimentally testing whether feelings of elevation are distinct from gratitude another moral and ‘other-praising’ emotion. Study 1 demonstrated that feelings of elevation are distinct from gratitude serenity (i.e. a secondary comparison condition) and boredom (i.e. a control condition). Study 2 added a behavioral outcome measure in the form of monetary donations to a moral charity. The third study expanded on Study 2 by randomly assigning participants to an elevation or gratitude mood induction and then randomly assigning them to have the opportunity to donate to either a moral or an amoral charity. Together these studies support Haidt’s conceptualization of elevation clarify Algoe and Haidt’s qualitative assessment of the emotional differences between elevation and gratitude and reveal that elevation results in different behavioral responses than gratitude.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology , 2014 Vol. 9, No. 5, 414 – 427

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