Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strengths of Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle has followed Paul Potts to Britain's Got Talent underdog stardom. Watch the sensation here. Already on the Today show and set for a place on Oprah's coach.

A number of people have asked what underlies her instant appeal. Well her story follows a classic narrative - a challenge plot protagonist who is fighting against all odds. She risks ridicule and public humiliation. Though not yet empirically proven in psychology lab (yet), she elicits in us the positive emotion of elevation. First proposed about ten years ago by Professor Jonathan Haidt, elevation is still somewhat of a mystery to scientists. It is distinct from admiration though that emotion is also present when we watch Susan Boyle sing.
Tough question: how are you risking ridicule to do something you really believe in? What will you do that might elicit elevation in others?