Stereotypes and terror management: Evidence that mortality salience enhances stereotypic thinking and preferences

Jeff Schimel, Linda Simon, Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, Tom Pyszczynski, Jeannette Waxmonsky, Jamie Arndt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations

Abstract

If stereotypes function to protect people against death-related concerns, then mortality salience should increase stereotypic thinking and preferences for stereotype-confirming individuals. Study 1 demonstrated that mortality salience increased stereotyping of Germans. In Study 2, it increased participants' tendency to generate more explanations for stereotype-inconsistent than stereotype-consistent gender role behavior. In Study 3, mortality salience increased participants' liking for a stereotype-consistent African American and decreased their liking for a stereotype-inconsistent African American; control participants exhibited the opposite preference. Study 4 replicated this pattern with evaluations of stereotype-confirming or stereotype-disconfirming men and women. Study 5 showed that, among participants high in need for closure, mortality salience led to decreased liking for a stereotype-inconsistent gay man.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-926
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume77
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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