Mortality salience hypothesis

The mortality salience hypothesis is that whatever we use to keep ourselves from falling into a pit of existential dread becomes more important the more we’re reminded of our own mortality.

terror management theory (TMT) nostalgia and the fear of death blog post [[ psychology ]] nostalgia

from this article Jacob Juhl, Clay Routledge, Jamie Arndt, Constantine Sedikides, Tim Wildschut, Fighting the future with the past: Nostalgia buffers existential threat, Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 44, Issue 3, 2010, Pages 309-314, ISSN 0092-6566, (

This hypothesis states that, if psychological structures buffer the consequences of mortality awareness, then experimentally heightening the awareness of death (mortality salience; MS) will result in elevated levels of investment in or defense of these buffering structures. . . . the theory predicts that, when reminded of death, people will be more positive to that which supports their beliefs and identifications, and will be less positive or more negative toward that which threatens them. These effects, often referred to as worldview defenses in the terror management literature, have been found with respect to a variety of domains.


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