Against the odds: human values arising in unfavourable circumstances elicit the feeling of being moved

Cognition and Emotion 32 (6):1231-1246 (2018)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTPeople sometimes say they are “moved” or “touched” by something. Although the experience is familiar to most, systematic research on being moved has just begun. The current research aims to advance our understanding of the prototypical elicitors of being moved. We tested the hypothesis that being moved is elicited by core values that manifest themselves in circumstances that are unfavourable to their emergence. In three experiments, two with text stimuli and one with pictorial stimuli, we found compelling evidence that the same core value is perceived as more moving when it emerges in unfavourable than in favourable circumstances. The effect was found in both males and females, although stronger in the latter group, and across all investigated core values, although love was generally more moving than other core values. The theoretical and practical significance of these findings is discussed.

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