Awe is traditionally seen as our reaction to things that cannot be reduced or explained. What, then, do we make of reports from scientists that this powerful emotion just pushes them to investigate further? In reviewing the literature about awe, Sinai and Synapses fellowship alum Sara Gottlieb, working with Dacher Keltner and Tania Lombrozo, found that the process of accommodation, in which we adjust our beliefs in light of surprising new information, is felt just as often by scientists as by people who experience awe in other situations. Their research has been published in the new issue of the journal Cognitive Science. Rabbi Geoff Mitelman spoke to Sara about her work: how she got interested in this topic, her discoveries so far, and her hopes for future research.

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Photo: Ian D. Keating