The Machine in the ghost: A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought

Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff L Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION, The proposition that people are often unaware of the forces that lead them to do the things they do is one of the oldest, most widely accepted, but at times most controversial ideas in the history of psychology. Since psychology's inception, the popularity of accounts of behavior that emphasize unconscious motivational forces has waxed and waned. Although virtually all psychologists probably agree that people are typically not aware of all the forces and processes that determine their behavior, the idea that people's thoughts, feelings, and actions are driven by powerful fears and needs of which they are unaware is considerably more contentious. Building on earlier theorizing in existential philosophy and psychoanalytic psychology, Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986; Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991) posits that a very deeply rooted fear of death unique to our species motivates a great deal of human behavior. A substantial literature consisting of over 170 separate studies conducted in at least nine different countries has accumulated over the past 15 years, supporting a variety of hypotheses derived from TMT (for reviews, see Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997; Pyszczynski, Solomon, & Greenberg, 2003). This research demonstrates that thoughts of death affect a broad range of human behavior, but that these effects occur in the absence of consciously experienced affect and occur primarily when death-related thoughts are on the fringes of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages40-54
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780511735066, 9780521832540
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

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Psychology
Fear
Consciousness
Emotions
History
Unconscious (Psychology)
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J. L., & Solomon, S. (2004). The Machine in the ghost: A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought. In Social Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes (pp. 40-54). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735066.005

The Machine in the ghost : A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought. / Pyszczynski, Tom; Greenberg, Jeff L; Solomon, Sheldon.

Social Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge University Press, 2004. p. 40-54.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Pyszczynski, T, Greenberg, JL & Solomon, S 2004, The Machine in the ghost: A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought. in Social Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge University Press, pp. 40-54. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735066.005
Pyszczynski T, Greenberg JL, Solomon S. The Machine in the ghost: A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought. In Social Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge University Press. 2004. p. 40-54 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735066.005
Pyszczynski, Tom ; Greenberg, Jeff L ; Solomon, Sheldon. / The Machine in the ghost : A dual process model of defense against conscious and unconscious Death-Related thought. Social Motivation: Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge University Press, 2004. pp. 40-54
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