The Impact of Death Awareness on Sizes of Self-Representational Objects
British Journal of Social Psychology
© 2017 The British Psychological Society People seem to have a tendency to increase the relative size of self-representational objects. Prior research suggests that motivational factors may fuel that tendency, so the present research built from terror management theory to examine whether existential motivations – engendered by concerns about death – may have similar implications for self-relevant size biases. Specifically, across two studies (total N = 288), we hypothesized that reminders of death would lead participants to inflate the size of self-representational objects. Both studies suggested that relative to reminders of pain, mortality salience led participants to construct larger clay sculptures of themselves (vs. others; Study 1) and a larger ostensible video game avatar for the self (vs. others; Study 2).
McCabe, Simon; Vail, Kenneth E.; and Arndt, Jamie, "The Impact of Death Awareness on Sizes of Self-Representational Objects" (2018). Psychology Faculty Publications. 57.