Will Life Extension Affect Our Social Judgments? Evidence That the Possibility of Indefinite Life Extension Increases Harshness Toward Social Transgressors

Peter J. Helm, Uri Lifshin, Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that if indefinite life extension (ILE) through medical technologies were to become a reality, then people may become harsher in their judgment of social transgressors. In support of this hypothesis, we found that higher positive attitudes towards ILE technologies related to harshness in judgment of social transgressions (Study 1), and that making ILE plausible (compared to not plausible) led participants to endorse harsher punishments for social transgressors (Studies 2–3). We replicated this effect and found that it is not amplified by subliminal death primes, although the primes also increased harshness (Study 3). These results may have implications to understanding how social judgment may be affected by the prospect of ILE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological reports
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • death
  • life extension
  • morality
  • social transgression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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