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The scale you completed was the “Engagement with Beauty" scale, developed by Rhett Diessner at Lewis-Clark State College, in Idaho.

The scale is a measure of your reactions to three different kinds of beauty: natural, artistic, and moral. Moral beauty refers to any action that displays virtue -- acts of love, courage, loyalty, or generosity, for example, often produce in observers a distinct pattern of physical feelings (often in the chest) and social motives (such as to copy the person who did the good deed). Haidt (2003) has called this feeling "moral elevation," drawing on a description of the feeling from Thomas Jefferson.

The idea behind the scale is that philosophers and psychologists have long been intrigued by the connection between beauty and virtue. Are those who are more "sensitive" to beauty and ugliness in the physical world also more sensitive to beauty or ugliness in the social world? Immanuel Kant said "A direct interest in the beauty of nature is always a mark of a good soul." Kant surely overstated things -- Hitler seems to have been quite fond of the natural beauty of Germany. Nonetheless, Diessner has found that scores on the EBS do correlate with scores on measures of gratitude, spiritual transcendence, and happiness. Diessner created the EBS in part to investigate whether feelings of moral elevation (in response to moral beauty) are related to the feelings of spiritual uplift that many people report in response to viewing natural and artistic beauty.

The graph below shows your scores (in green) compared to those of the average male (in brown) and the average female (in orange) visitor to this website. The first green bar shows your average response to the "natural beauty" items. The next green bar shows your average response to the "artistic beauty" items. The third green bar shows your average response to the "moral beauty" items. The scale runs from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest possible score).

For more information about the scale, or the psychology of beauty, please see Diessner's EBS page, particularly the paper listed at the top of the page, on "Engagement with Beauty". You might also find some papers of interest on Jonathan Haidt's "Elevation" page.

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