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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?


sorrowja sorrowja 8 years
Constructive criticism my ass. They just have hate in their blood because the current village idiot fucked up our country. And we found HOPE in someone other than the next one they had in line.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
Em & mydiadem: I've also heard us Obama supporters so sweetly being called Kool-Aid drinkers too. That was meant in the nicest of ways I'm sure.
stephley stephley 8 years
"GWB who is all your personal idol (and no one is allowed to say a bad word about because its disrespectful)" Careful, he's only their personal idol sometimes - very often, they can't distance themselves or the republican party from him enough. I imagine it's an exhausting balancing act.
em1282 em1282 8 years
mydiadem--you forgot idiots and sheep.
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
I agree with jillness, the wedding hasn't even happened yet. there's plenty of time for the honeymoon.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
How is calling Obama supporters themselves blind, lemmings, lazy people with no jobs, jokes, etc. (just to name a few things I've seen recently here from different folks) 'constructive criticism'?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
You can say bad things about GWB, but only if its not "kill him" and "burn him" and "hang him" or "blow him up" or comparing him to hitler. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, and many on here dont use it, its only hate filled poison. I even appreciate humor on the subject, a bit of snark wont kill anyone, but not directed at specific people for their beliefs.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Oh haters, continue to hate, its what you're good at! Call Obama supporters blind, lemmings, people only raging against GWB who is all your personal idol (and no one is allowed to say a bad word about because its disrespectful), whatever you want. I still will hold on to a glimmer of optimism.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I just thought it was hysterical blindness.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well the mechanics of the explanation certainly make sense however President Elect Obama doesn't have to do anything except take his time and do it right. It will be upon the receipt of satisfaction of each task well done by a President we invested so much hope in that will trump our cynicism and create a sustainable yield of optimism. It is also the responsibility of the collective (we) to remember that it's not about being perfect, it's about not surrendering and if we refuse to surrender to cynicism and hopelessness than we will be just fine.
janneth janneth 8 years
There was a lot of elevation going on at election night.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Wow, it is amazing to see how much mind over matter has such an impact. "The honeymoon nearly over"...hysterical! He hasn't taken office yet, the marriage hasn't even happened, honey!
Jillness Jillness 8 years
"He was losing in the polls until an unprecedented economic calamity struck." What? Obama was ahead in the polls from June until McCain got a slight convention bump, which happens to both parties each year. To say "Obama was losing in the polls" until the economic situation hit its peak is an over simplification of facts, and not reflective of reality. At most, McCain was ahead for 2 weeks out of the 6 months of the campaign.
stephley stephley 8 years
Who says the honeymoon's nearly over? You never came to the party, so you can hardly be a reliable measure.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Last I recall, his scientifically proven moral beauty was just enough to muster him only 53% of the popular vote in what was a referendum against a wildly unpopular Republican administration and a candidate who could barely explain his policies in a coherent way. He was losing in the polls until an unprecedented economic calamity struck. Fast forward to now, the honeymoon nearly over in a marriage that nearly didn't occur. Now we are talking about trying to make a science out of why Obamamania hit the nation like a tidal wave? Hyperbole much?
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Obama's moral beauty? What are we talking about? Dennis Hubert Chitty is an ecologist. He studies mostly animals from the family Rodentia, most notably from the Tribe Lemmini. As a scientist, he also offers a possible scientific explanation for Obama's hope.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"Sounds like Obama will have to move quickly before his window of hope is shut?" Where does it say that? I didn't see any reference in the article about this "cognitive reset" emotion having a window.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I think people need to be realistic as well - things are not going to change overnight. It is going to take a lot of time and a lot of hard work to get our country on the path out of the mess we are in.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Obama is already organizing his volunteers for the next phase. Meetings will be happening across the country this month, getting people organized into volunteer roles...waiting for instruction. He is far too smart to waste the massive citizens movement that he started.
stephley stephley 8 years
"Sounds like Obama will have to move quickly before his window of hope is shut?" Especially because so many people and events are racing to slam the window shut.
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