The Evil Animal: A Terror Management Theory Perspective on the Human Tendency to Kill Animals

Uri Lifshin, Jeff L Greenberg, Colin A. Zestcott, Daniel L Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research tested whether support for the killing of animals serves a terror management function. In five studies, death primes caused participants to support the killing of animals more than control primes, unless the participants’ self-esteem had been elevated (Study 4). This effect was not moderated by gender, preexisting attitudes toward killing animals or animal rights, perceived human–animal similarity, religiosity, political orientation, or by the degree to which the killing was justified. Support for killing animals after subliminal death primes was also associated with an increased sense of power and invulnerability (Study 5). Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-757
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • genocide
  • human–animal relations
  • terror management
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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