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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989 Oct;57(4):681-90.

Evidence for terror management theory: I. The effects of mortality salience on reactions to those who violate or uphold cultural values.

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University of Arizona.


On the basis of terror management theory, it was hypothesized that when mortality is made salient, Ss would respond especially positively toward those who uphold cultural values and especially negatively toward those who violate cultural values. In Experiment 1, judges recommended especially harsh bonds for a prostitute when mortality was made salient. Experiment 2 replicated this finding with student Ss and demonstrated that it occurs only among Ss with relatively negative attitudes toward prostitution. Experiment 3 demonstrated that mortality salience also leads to larger reward recommendations for a hero who upheld cultural values. Experiments 4 and 5 showed that the mortality salience effect does not result from heightened self-awareness or physiological arousal. Experiment 6 replicated the punishment effect with a different mortality salience manipulation. Implications for the role of fear of death in social behavior are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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