Positive Emotion in Nature as a Precursor to Learning
This study was designed to examine the perception of learning in adults generated by the effect of a positive emotion-in this case, awe. For the study, a working definition of awe is an impact-provoking reverence due to a powerful, positive emotional response to the natural world. This qualitative study used primarily face-to-face interviews. A total of 71 adults were interviewed and 113 interviews were conducted. These adults described an experience in which they felt impacted by awe and as a result perceived learning. Their descriptions were coded to determine context of the experience and what was learned. Of the participants, 98.6% perceived that learning occurred due to their powerful, emotional response to the nature experience they described. These findings extend the current research on informal and formal science learning, natural resource management, experiential education, and the study of emotions as experienced in nature.
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