Searching for the terror in terror management: Mortality salience and physiological indices of arousal and affect
AuthorArndt, Jamie Lorenson
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrevious research has found that reminders of one's mortality provoke hostile reactions to those who threaten one's worldview, but such reminders have not been found to create conscious negative affect. Two studies were conducted to investigate the role of subtle affective reactions to different mortality primes as indexed by physiological measures. In Study 1, participants responded to an open-ended mortality or control treatment while skin conductance and pulse rate were recorded, and then evaluated worldview impinging essays. In Study 2, participants were exposed to masked presentations of either "death" or "pain," and then to a worldview threatening essay. Facial EMG was recorded throughout. Results of both studies found the expected increase in worldview defense following mortality primes. Whereas Study I found an increase in arousal that was not specific to mortality salience, Study 2 found greater corrugator EMG specifically during exposure to the death primes. Across both studies, there was no evidence for a mediating role of affect on worldview defense following exposure to death primes. Possible explanations and future research directions are briefly discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College