Mortality salience effects fail to replicate in traditional and novel measures
Keywords:Mortality salience , death reminders, worldview defence , terror management , replication
AbstractMortality salience (MS) effects, where death reminders lead to ingroup-bias and defensive protection of one’s world-view, have been claimed to be a fundamental human motivator. MS phenomena have ostensibly been identified in several hundred studies within the “terror management theory” framework, but transparent and high-powered replications are lacking. Experiment 1 (N = 101 Norwegian lab participants) aimed to replicate the traditional MSeffect on national patriotism, with additional novel measures of democratic values and pro-sociality. Experiment2 (N = 784 US online participants) aimed to replicate the MS effect on national patriotism in a larger sample, with ingroup identification and pro-sociality as additional outcome measures. The results showed that neither experiment replicated the traditional MS effect on national patriotism. The experiments also failed to support conceptual replications and underlying mechanisms on democratic values, processing speed, psychophysiological responses, ingroup identification, and pro-sociality. This indicates that the effect of death reminders is less robust and generalizable than previously assumed.
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