Existential Threat Fuels Worldview Defense, but not after Priming Autonomy Orientation
Basic and Applied Social Psychology
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Although mortality salience (MS) typically motivates worldview defensiveness, priming an autonomy/self-determined orientation may attenuate that defensiveness. In Study 1 (n = 156) MS (vs. pain) had higher support for militaristic defense of American interests abroad, unless participants were also primed with autonomy-oriented (vs. controlled) concepts. In Study 2 (n = 205), a pilot survey found participants were strongly aware of and interested in the cultural value of tolerance; MS (vs. neutral) had higher defense of that salient value in the form of support for more expansive/accepting immigration policy, unless participants were primed to recall autonomous/self-determined (vs. controlled) experiences. These findings bear implications for both aggressive and prosocial existential defenses, political ideology, and the intersection of existential defense and growth orientations.
Vail, Kenneth E.; Conti, Joseph P.; Goad, Alexis N.; and Horner, Dylan E., "Existential Threat Fuels Worldview Defense, but not after Priming Autonomy Orientation" (2020). Psychology Faculty Publications. 49.