A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are at least two forms of meaning that people seek: everyday meaning, which involves structuring the environment into a series of recursive patterns and expectancies, and ultimate meaning, which involves imbuing one's life with a sense of cosmic purpose. Terror management theory, rooted in the ideas of Ernest Becker, is better suited than other motivational accounts to explain why humans pursue ultimate meaning. According to the theory, people's awareness of their impending death compels them to attain ultimate meaning, because only if the self is seen as having a transcendent purpose can it be seen as in some sense immortal. The authors review a variety of experimental findings derived from TMT suggesting that the potential for death-related anxiety causes people to create and defend sources of both everyday and ultimate meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages17-30
Number of pages14
Volume9789400765276
ISBN (Print)9789400765276, 9400765266, 9789400765269
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

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Anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Sullivan, D. L., Kosloff, S., & Greenberg, J. L. (2013). A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning. In The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies (Vol. 9789400765276, pp. 17-30). Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6527-6_2

A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning. / Sullivan, Daniel L; Kosloff, Spee; Greenberg, Jeff L.

The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. Vol. 9789400765276 Springer Netherlands, 2013. p. 17-30.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Sullivan, DL, Kosloff, S & Greenberg, JL 2013, A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning. in The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. vol. 9789400765276, Springer Netherlands, pp. 17-30. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6527-6_2
Sullivan DL, Kosloff S, Greenberg JL. A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning. In The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. Vol. 9789400765276. Springer Netherlands. 2013. p. 17-30 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6527-6_2
Sullivan, Daniel L ; Kosloff, Spee ; Greenberg, Jeff L. / A terror management perspective on the creation and defense of meaning. The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. Vol. 9789400765276 Springer Netherlands, 2013. pp. 17-30
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