The scrooge effect: Evidence that mortality salience increases prosocial attitudes and behavior

Eva Jonas, Jeff Schimel, Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

231 Scopus citations

Abstract

From the perspective of terror management theory, reminders of mortality should intensify the desire to express culturally prescribed prosocial attitudes and engage in culturally prescribed prosocial behaviors. Two studies supported these hypotheses. In Study 1, people were interviewed in close proximity to a funeral home or several blocks away and were asked to indicate their attitudes toward two charities they deemed important. Those who were interviewed in front of the funeral home reported more favorability toward these charities than those who were interviewed several blocks away. In Study 2, the authors found that following mortality salience, people gave more money to a charity supporting an American cause than people who had been exposed to an aversive control topic. However, mortality salience had no effect on the amount of money given to a foreign cause. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1353
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume28
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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