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Elevation Revelation: Science Behind Obama's Hope Revealed

Elevation Revelation: Science Behind Obama's Hope Revealed

Ohh, 'bama. America fell in love with your smile, your smarts, your wife, and your story. And what a story you tell! Some call it high-flying rhetoric, which it is. But that implies style without substance; emotion without logic; dip without chips, which it is not. I hope anyway!

Speaking of hope, I knew it wouldn't be long before science explained why Oprah cried on a perfect stranger's shoulder and sincerity killed irony in unmarked warehouse neighborhoods across the country. It's called elevation. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, coined the term and explained it to Slate. He said:

Powerful moments of elevation sometimes seem to push a mental 'reset button,' wiping out feelings of cynicism and replacing them with feelings of hope, love, and optimism, and a sense of moral inspiration.

While another person's "moral beauty" may make us want to be a better people, Haidt's research shows it's a rather useless catalyst for action. But hope's not lost! Yet. Elevation changes people cognitively and opens minds to new possibilities. "This," Haidt said, "will be crucial for Obama."

Sounds like Obama will have to move quickly before his window of hope is shut?


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