Title

The Bible Belt is Killing Me: Terror Management Theory at Murray State

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Psychology

Minor

Quantitative

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Jana Hackatorn

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Terror management theory (TMT) embraces the idea that humans experience anxiety because of the inevitability of death (Pyszczynski, et al., 1999). To combat this anxiety, we typically turn to cultural values. Studies have consistently shown that mortality salience can increase aggression, and outgroup derogation. The purpose of this study was to expand on these concepts and examine whether mortality salience would increase participants desire to punish rule breakers, more than the traditionally used comparison (i.e., dental pain). Additionally, an investigation of new comparison (i.e., exclusion from others) condition was introduced. The purpose for this additional condition is that prior research has shown that dental pain no longer elicits the same amount of anxiety as thinking about mortality.

Participants (N = 148) were randomly assigned to one of the three anxiety conditions, the PANAS (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) was administered as a manipulation check. Participants then completed a various measurement to investigate attitudes (e.g. punishment, aggression, religious commitment). Lastly a demographic section along with a self-esteem and religiosity questions were included.

Immediate problems emerged, in that most participants in the mortality salience condition (65%) refused to follow directions, and instead spoke about spiritual journeys. A Pearson chi-square was calculated to determine whether the expression of religion was equal in the three conditions. Results, suggest that religious expression was not equally distributed in the population, X2 (2, 148) = 80.44,p

Additional analysis and implications will be discussed.

Affiliations

Psychology: Completed Projects

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The Bible Belt is Killing Me: Terror Management Theory at Murray State

Terror management theory (TMT) embraces the idea that humans experience anxiety because of the inevitability of death (Pyszczynski, et al., 1999). To combat this anxiety, we typically turn to cultural values. Studies have consistently shown that mortality salience can increase aggression, and outgroup derogation. The purpose of this study was to expand on these concepts and examine whether mortality salience would increase participants desire to punish rule breakers, more than the traditionally used comparison (i.e., dental pain). Additionally, an investigation of new comparison (i.e., exclusion from others) condition was introduced. The purpose for this additional condition is that prior research has shown that dental pain no longer elicits the same amount of anxiety as thinking about mortality.

Participants (N = 148) were randomly assigned to one of the three anxiety conditions, the PANAS (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) was administered as a manipulation check. Participants then completed a various measurement to investigate attitudes (e.g. punishment, aggression, religious commitment). Lastly a demographic section along with a self-esteem and religiosity questions were included.

Immediate problems emerged, in that most participants in the mortality salience condition (65%) refused to follow directions, and instead spoke about spiritual journeys. A Pearson chi-square was calculated to determine whether the expression of religion was equal in the three conditions. Results, suggest that religious expression was not equally distributed in the population, X2 (2, 148) = 80.44,p

Additional analysis and implications will be discussed.