TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY: THE INFLUENCE OF SALIENT GROUP NORMS, ACTIVE SOCIAL IDENTITIES AND IN-GROUP IDENTIFICATION ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORTALITY SALIENCE AND BIAS
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Terror management research has shown that mortality salience leads to especially positive reactions towards similar others and to especially negative reactions towards different others. The present research consists of six studies that investigate the influence of salient group norms, salient identities and in-group identification on the effects of mortality salience. In-group norms of collectivism and individualism were manipulated in Study I, whereas in-group norms of fairness and discrimination were manipulated in Study 2. Study 3 manipulated out-group norms of fairness and discrimination. The results of these studies provided evidence thai the content of salient in-group and out-group norms moderates the effects of mortality salience on bias. A mortality salience induction led to greater inter-group bias when salient norms prescribed collectivism and discrimination, as opposed to individualism and fairness respectively. Support to the view that death reminders can increase adherence to group norms was also provided. Studies 4- 6 focused on the role of salient identities and group identification on the effects of mortality salience. Study 4 primed English and student identities in a cross-categorization setting, whereas Study 5 primed English and European identities in a re-categorization in setting. In Study 6, in-group identification was measured. It was demonstrated that salient social identities moderate the effects of mortality salience on bias, whereas in-group identification does not. In Study 4, English students for whom mortality was salient displayed more bias toward Scottish students when the active identity was English as opposed to students. Study 5 showed that English that were reminded of their mortality displayed more bias toward French people when the salient identity was English than when it was Europeans. In Study 6, mortality salience led to increased inter-group bias irrespectively of participants' level of in-group identification. Discussion focuses on potential explanations, implications and future directions.
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