The effects of mortality salience on political preferences: The roles of charisma and political orientation

Spee Kosloff, Jeff Greenberg, David weise, Sheldon Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research has shown that mortality salience (MS) heightens liking for certain political candidates. Yet the particular qualities that make candidates more appealing after MS has been subject to debate. This study tested three possibilities: MS increases liking for charismatic candidates independent of participants' or candidates' political orientation; MS increases liking for conservative candidates independent of participants' or candidates' political orientation; and MS increases liking only for charismatic candidates who support the individual's pre-existing political orientation, whether liberal or conservative. Following a MS manipulation, liberal and conservative participants evaluated two hypothetical gubernatorial candidates who differed both in their political orientation and level of charisma. MS heightened liking of charismatic candidates who shared the perceiver's political orientation, whether liberal or conservative. In contrast, MS reduced liking for uncharismatic and opposing-orientation candidates. Results thus indicated that MS heightens regard for same-political orientation charismatic candidates, rather than just any charismatic candidate or conservative candidates. Implications for the influence of death-related concerns on political preference are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Charisma
  • Conservatism
  • Liberalism
  • Mortality salience
  • Political orientation
  • Terror management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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