Black Color and its Relationship to Death: A Study in Terror Management Theory
AuthorMalkin, Jenna Nicole
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe studies presented in this paper attempt to expand current knowledge about color and how it may affect human perception and behavior. Specifically, these studies focus on the color black and whether or not it has a connection with the idea of death. Examining this question through a Terror Management Theory perspective (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986), we ran three studies. Study 1 aimed to test whether viewing black paintings increased death-thought accessibility (DTA; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Simon, & Breus, 1994). Study 2 tested whether participants associated the word death with the color black or other colors. Study 3 examined whether outgroup members are perceived more negatively after MS if they are wearing black rather than a neutral color. For Study 1, there was not a significant effect of color on DTA in the three conditions [F(2,81) = 1.28, p = 0.282]. However the means trended in the predicted direction. Study 2 revealed that the word death was significantly associated with black more than any other color (2 (1) = 643.63, p < .001). Study 3 is still ongoing.
Degree ProgramHonors College