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Oct 4 2019

Impact of Awe on Memories of Learning at Art and Science Museums

October 4, 2019

1:00 AM - 2:30 PM




1240 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612

Dr. Aaron Price

Museum of Science and Industry


Abstract: Museums and cultural centers are in the business of awe. Whether by design or happenstance, guests can feel awe before they arrive and it can persist after they leave. This study looks at various aspects of awe 899 guests felt as they left a variety of art and science cultural institutions. About a week later, 550 guests also completed a delayed-post survey. Measures included a scale of awe-related emotions and constructed-response items about what they learned during their visit. Results show a profile of awe-related emotions that is consistent across institutions, which suggests awe may have roots outside of the specific contextual experiences (i.e. anticipation of the visit). Guest memories of educational and emotional experiences at the institutions were weakly related to some aspects of awe, but not all. This connection was strongest with memories of emotional connections and being surprised. Prior knowledge was also positively related to awe.

Finally, I will end with a brief discussion about doing research in public, informal learning environments.



Enrique Puente

Date posted

Sep 25, 2019

Date updated

Sep 25, 2019