Admiration for virtue

Neuroscientific perspectives on a motivating emotion

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Lesley Sylvan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social emotions like admiration for another person's virtue are often associated with a desire to be virtuous one's self, and to engage in meaningful and socially relevant activities against any odds (. Haidt & Seder, 2007). These emotions can profoundly inspire us, sometimes motivating our most significant life-course decisions. Yet despite the cognitive maturity and complexity of knowledge required to induce an emotion like admiration for virtue, our recent study of the brain and psychophysiological correlates of experiencing this emotion revealed significant involvement of low-level brain systems responsible for the feeling of the gut and the maintenance of basic life regulation (. Immordino-Yang, McColl, Damasio, & Damasio, 2009). These findings contribute an interesting jumping-off point for reexamining the educational study of motivation states because they suggest that, contrary to current conceptions in educational research, nonconscious, low-level physiological processes related to survival and bodily sensation may be critical contributors to intrinsic motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2010

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Emotions
emotion
brain
Motivation
intrinsic motivation
Physiological Phenomena
maturity
educational research
Brain
regulation
Maintenance
human being
Survival
Research

Keywords

  • Drives
  • Emotion
  • Motivation
  • Neuroscience
  • Unconscious/non-conscious processing

Cite this

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Admiration for virtue : Neuroscientific perspectives on a motivating emotion. / Immordino-Yang, Mary Helen; Sylvan, Lesley.

In: Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 35, No. 2, 01.04.2010, p. 110-115.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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