Elevation, an emotion for prosocial contagion, is experienced more strongly by those with greater expectations of the cooperativeness of others

Autoři: Adam Maxwell Sparks aff001;  Daniel M. T. Fessler aff001;  Colin Holbrook aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Anthropology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America aff001;  Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America aff002;  Bedari Kindness Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America aff003;  Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, California, United States of America aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226071


A unique emotion, elevation, is thought to underlie prosocial contagion, a process whereby witnessing a prosocial act leads to acting prosocially. Individuals differ in their propensity to experience elevation, and thus their proneness to prosocial contagion, but little is known about the causes of such variation. We introduce an adaptationist model wherein elevation marks immediate circumstances in which generalized prosociality is advantageous, with this evaluation of circumstances hinging in part on prior expectations of others’ prosociality. In 15 studies, we add to evidence that elevation can reliably be elicited and mediates prosocial contagion. Importantly, we confirm a novel prediction–generated by our adaptationist account–that an idealistic attitude, which indexes others’ expected degree of prosociality, moderates the relationship between exposure to prosocial cues and experiencing elevation. We discuss how our findings inform both basic theorizing in the affective sciences and translational efforts to engineer a more harmonious world, and we offer future research directions to further test and extend our model.

Klíčová slova:

Behavior – Emotions – Employment – Gratitude – Human learning – Learning – Motivation – Prosocial behavior


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