Article

Terror Management Theory

Sheldon Solomon

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0058
Terror Management Theory

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  • Psychology
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Terror management theory posits that the juxtaposition of an inclination toward self-preservation with the highly developed intellectual abilities that make humans aware of their vulnerabilities and inevitable death creates the potential for paralyzing terror. One of the most important functions of cultural worldviews is to manage the terror engendered by death awareness. This is accomplished primarily through the cultural mechanism of self-esteem, which consists of the belief that one is a valuable contributor to a meaningful universe, and hence eligible for literal and/or symbolic immortality. Effective terror management requires, first, faith in a meaningful conception of reality (the cultural worldview), and second, belief that one is meeting the standards of value prescribed by that worldview (self-esteem). Because of the protection from the potential for terror that these psychological structures afford, people are motivated to maintain faith in their cultural worldviews and satisfy the standards of value associated with them.

Article.  9154 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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