Cognitive Dissidents

Cognitive Dissidents: 012: Elevation Emotion

Today on the Cognitive Dissidents Podcast we discuss Elevation Emotion which is the idea that

Elevation is an emotion elicited by witnessing virtuous acts of remarkable moral goodness. It is experienced as a distinct feeling of warmth and expansion that is accompanied by appreciation and affection for the individual whose exceptional conduct is being observed. Elevation motivates those who experience it to open up to, affiliate with, and assist others. Elevation makes an individual feel lifted up and optimistic about humanity. – Wikipedia

We discuss today how religion take this normal human emotional reaction and co-op and hijack it to be understood by adherents as a evidence that their faith system is the one true faith.

The studies on Elevation Emotion

found that participants in the elevation conditions reported different patterns of physical feelings and motivations when compared to participants in the control conditions. Elevated participants were more likely to report physical feelings in their chests—especially warm, pleasant, or “tingling” feelings—and they were more likely to report wanting to help others, become better people themselves, and affiliate with others. In both studies, reported feelings of happiness energized people to engage in private or self-interested pursuits, while feelings of elevation seemed to open people up and turn their attention outwards, toward other people.

Religions utilize this as a sign of their truthfulness or their being directed by God.

We use several audio example to show how they do such and when we are finished one is left to re-evaluate how they interpret their “warm fuzzy feelings” outside a religious paradigm.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevation_(emotion)

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/wired_to_be_inspired

http://www.elevationresearch.org/content/jonathan-haidt

http://people.stern.nyu.edu/jhaidt/articles/haidt.2003.elevation-and-positive-psychology.pub026.html

http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/articles/haidt.2000.the-positive-emotion-of-elevation.pub020.pdf

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