Novels, films, religious texts, and popular books often provoke a feeling in the viewer of being moved by the moral excellence of another person. Drawing upon Thomas Jefferson's own analysis of this emotion, Jonathan Haidt has called this emotion elevation. According to Jefferson, elevation is the desire to perform acts of charity or gratitude when presented with same and, on the contrary, the sense of abhorrence when presented with an appalling deed.

Usage and Analysis

Elevation is elicited by acts of charity, gratitude, fidelity, generosity, or any other strong display of virtue that runs counter to current expectations. In this way, elevation differs from a closely related emotion, awe, which occurs when the individual encounters something that is vast and beyond current expectations. People experience awe in ...

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