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Terror Management Theory

Terror Management Theory

Terror Management Theory (TMT), in social psychology, states that human behavior is mostly motivated by the fear of mortality. The theory purports to help explain human activity both at the individual and societal level.

 

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Mee Young Jeong

Mee Young Jeong

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From the TMT perspective, human beings share the most common and simplest instinct, self-preservation, with other species. However, humans' intellectual capacities force them to recognize their inescapable mortality (Pyszczynski, Greenberg, & Solomon, 1997). The awareness of unavoidable death leads to possible paralyzing terror, which would generate continued goal-directed behavior that may be manifested in many ways.

Article:   The Effect of Death Anxie…
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

This study adopted terror management theory (TMT) to explore how people's materialistic consumption behaviors can be influenced by social events, such as September 11, i.e., mortality salience effects on materialistic consumption. By using survey data from a representative sample of the U.S. adult population, the influence of mortality salience on two consumption behaviors-brand name consumption and compulsive consumption-was examined. The results showed that people with a greater fear of becoming a terrorism victim showed a greater tendency for brand name consumption and compulsive consumption.

Article:   Understanding Materialist…
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There is considerable empirical support for the basic tenets of terror management theory (reviews by Greenberg, Solomon, & Arndt, 2008; Vail et al., 2010) . Threats to self-esteem or one's worldview increase death thought accessibility, and enhancing self esteem or faith in one's worldview decreases death thought accessibility and anxiety (e.g., Harmon-Jones et al., 1997; for a comprehensive review of death thought accessibility research see Hayes, Schimel, Arndt, & Faucher, 2010).

Article:   THE EVOLUTION OF BELIEFS …
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In the present article, we present a theoretical perspective on ageism that is derived from terror management theory. According to the theory, human beings manage deeply-rooted fears about their vulnerability to death through symbolic constructions of meaning and corresponding standards of value. We extend this perspective to suggest that elderly individuals present an existential threat for the non-elderly because they remind us all that: (a) death is inescapable, (b) the body is fallible, and (c) the bases by which we may secure self-esteem (and manage death anxiety) are transitory.

Article:   A Terror Management Persp…
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Why do many Christians feel queasy about the Incarnation? Recent work in Terror Management Theory (Solomon, Greenburg, Sc Pyszczynski, 1991; Greenburg, Solomon, Sc Pyszczynski, 1997) may provide one answer. Specifically, across a variety of studies it has been shown that people feel ambivalent toward their bodies and bodily functions (e.g., sex) because the body is a mortality/death reminder (Goldenberg, Pyszczynski, Greenburg, Sc Solomon, 2000).

Article:   FEELING QUEASY ABOUT THE …
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TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY(TMT; Pyszczynski, Solomon, & Greenberg, 2003) states that people have a universal need to cope with their awareness of their inevitable death by engaging in certain social actions and upholding a particular set of beliefs and values. Therefore, the management theory provides useful explanations for human behavior, especially when people perceive an actual or imagined imminent threat to their lives (Pyszczynski et al., 2003). The events known as 9/11 primed Americans' thoughts about vulnerabilities to danger and death.

Article:   Reactions to 9/11 as a Fu…
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Studies of terror management theory yield a third perspective, which deals directly with the effects of mortality-salient events such as the 9/11 attacks. Central to its conceptual framework is the notion that reminders of people's own mortality elicit specific, predictable behaviors.

Article:   ABC's The Path to 9/11, T…
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Overall, the best interpretation of existing findings is that fear of death declines over the years of middle adulthood but does not continue declining in old age. This seems paradoxical in that one might expect elders to have a greater fear of death than younger people in view of the fact that increasing age and frailty render them ever more vulnerable to death. To understand why this should be the case, one can turn to theoryin the hope of finding an explanation. At present, terror management theory(Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997; Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991a, 199Ib) seems to be the most comprehensive of the existing approaches dealing with the cause and control of fear of death (Tomer, 1994) and is supported by extensive empirical research.

Article:   Fear of Death in Older Ad…
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Rosemary's Baby and Straw Dogs are New Hollywood films that explore themes of death and violence. Terror management theory (TMT), a theory of the role of death fear in the human striving for significance, is utilized to clarify various aspects of these films, including their use of death imagery and the motivations of the characters, and to reveal some novel parallels between the films.

Article:   Toward a New Understandin…
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The basic goal of TMT was to answer some very basic questions about the human condition: 1) Why do people need self-esteem and go to such great lengths to get it?; 2) Why do people need to believe that, out of all the different ways of conceiving reality, their conception is the one that just happens to bear a one-to-one relation with the truth?; and 3) Why do people have such a hard time getting along with each other, especially those who are different from themselves?

Article:   What Are We So Afraid Of?…
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