Terror management and attitudes toward immigrants: Differential effects of mortality salience for low and high right-wing authoritarians

David R. Weise, Thomas Arciszewski, Jean François Verlhiac, Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous terror management theory research has shown that mortality salience (MS; a death reminder) leads to the derogation of those who are perceived to be threats to or violators of one's cultural worldview. Immigrants may be viewed as such a threat, but not necessarily to all majority group members of the culture. The studies presented here tested the hypothesis that, depending upon the nature of the participants' worldview, MS would either increase or decrease liking of an immigrant. After being reminded of their mortality or a control topic, French and American college students evaluated an immigrant. To assess differences in worldview, participants completed a measure of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). Consistent across two studies, MS led to more negative evaluations of an immigrant among those high in RWA, but more positive evaluations for those low in RWA. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for understanding the interplay of mortality concerns and RWA in determining attitudes toward immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 25 2012

Keywords

  • Attitudes toward immigrants
  • Right-wing authoritarianism
  • Terror management theory
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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