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Awe Weakens the Desire for Money

  • Libin Jiang (a1), Jun Yin (a2), Dongmei Mei (a1), Hong Zhu (a3) and Xinyue Zhou (a4)...


This research examined whether feeling awe weakens people's desire for money. Two experiments demonstrated that, as a self-transcendent emotion, awe decreased people's money desire. In Experiment 1, recalling a personal experience of awe makes people place less importance on money, compared with recalling an experience of happiness and recalling a neutral experience. In experiment 2, we examined different variants of awe, such as negative awe and non-nature awe. Viewing images that elicited awe, no matter what kind of awe, can induce people to put less effort into obtaining money. Process evidence suggested that awe's weakening of money desire was due to its power to make people transcend their mundane concerns. Our findings have implications for willingness to donate, price sensitivity, religious practices, and economic utilities.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Xinyue Zhou, School of Management, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou, 310058, China. Email:


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This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71672169 & 71372034).



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