The Heart of Elevation: Investigating the Physiological and Neural Mechanisms Underlying Moral Elevation Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/9k41zg66v

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  • Moral elevation refers to the distinct state of warmth and expansion that some individuals experience after witnessing or learning about the altruistic acts of others. Elevation is a particularly interesting positive emotion for its capacity to promote various altruistic behaviors, as well as motivate witnesses to improve their character. The heart of this honors thesis focused on narrowing the gap of knowledge related to physiological and neural mechanisms underlying moral elevation. We hypothesized that elevation is an emotional state under the influence of the social communication system described in the polyvagal theory. We also hypothesized that prefrontal cortex activity would relate to elevation. Measures of respiratory sinus arrhythmia displayed parasympathetic influence on the heart during elevation, an indirect indication of oxytocin release. In addition, functional near infrared spectroscopy imaging of the medial prefrontal cortex revealed that blood oxygenation level-dependent signals of this brain region negatively correlated to self-reported prosocial motivation after elevation induction. Altogether, this study demonstrates the first evidence of how the body and brain are involved in the experience of moral elevation.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Digital Production(digitalproduc@gmail.com) on 2012-06-27T20:38:47Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1UHC Thesis James Spencer Hutchinson June 2012.pdf: 779694 bytes, checksum: 0e945506af6c89f526a5824aeb04af3e (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Emily Dray (emily.dray@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-06-15T18:08:10ZNo. of bitstreams: 1UHC Thesis James Spencer Hutchinson June 2012.pdf: 779694 bytes, checksum: 0e945506af6c89f526a5824aeb04af3e (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-06-27T20:38:47Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1UHC Thesis James Spencer Hutchinson June 2012.pdf: 779694 bytes, checksum: 0e945506af6c89f526a5824aeb04af3e (MD5) Previous issue date: 2012-05-24

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