No one thinks "me, me, me" when they're looking at snaps of the Orion Nebula or listening to Beethoven's Fifth. More likely, they're seeing themselves as part of a greater whole, found psychologist Dacher Keltner, PhD, at the University of California at Berkeley.
Keltner and his colleagues stationed volunteers
in one of two places—either facing a five-ton, life-size model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, or an empty hallway—and asked them to describe themselves. The wonderstruck viewers would say something universal, like, "I am an inhabitant of Earth" rather than, for instance, that they were business majors. An antidote to self-absorption, "awe tends to direct attention away from the self and toward the environment," the researchers write.