• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Working paper

The effect of mortality salience on attitudes toward national outgroups

Prusova I., Gulevich O.
Psychological studies show the effect of mortality salience (MS) on attitudes and behavioral patterns in different spheres of social life, particularly, in intergroup relationships. This study examines the influence of MS on attitudes toward national outgroups. In line with terror management theory (TMT), previous studies indicate a contradictory impact of death-related thoughts. Reminders of death enhance unfavorable attitudes toward all national outgroups, however, MS reinforces the negative attitudes only toward unfriendly countries or toward those perceived as threatening. To shed light on the influence of MS, we conducted two experimental studies that were differentiated by MS manipulation and the specifics of the outgroups. In Study 1 we actualized the reminders of death through military news, whereas in Study 2 by the presentation of terrorism news (close and distant). In Study 1 (N = 180) we analyzed the impact of MS on attitudes toward Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia. The results showed that MS mostly reinforced the unfavorable attitudes toward ‘unfriendly’ and ‘neutral’ countries. Study 2 (N = 242) focused on MS and attitudes toward Ukraine, Belarus, the USA, and China. The results indicated that MS enhanced negative attitudes toward Ukraine as an ‘unfriendly’ country. However, the close or distant terrorism-related content did not illustrate the specific influence on attitudes toward national outgroups.