Worldview rejection: Exploring conditions under which people will reject their worldview
LE3 .A278 2017
Bachelor of Science
The current research examined conditions under which people will reject, rather than defend their culture. Following from a combination of terror management and goal-regulation perspectives, it was hypothesized that death awareness would precipitate worldview defense only among people who felt they were succeeding in life. Cultural worldview protects against death-anxiety, leading people to defend their beliefs under perceived threat (terror management theory), whereas ineffective goal activity leads to goal-withdrawal (goal regulation theory). Hence, the combination of mortality salience (MS;threat) and goal-withdrawal should lead to withdrawal from worldview defense. In the present study, 202 American citizens completed a trait self-esteem scale, followed by random assignment to a 2 (Salience: MS vs. dental pain) x 2 (Goal Recall: failure vs. success) between-subjects factorial design. Worldview defense was operationalized as attitudes toward anti-vs. pro American essays. Results partially supported the hypothesis: participants in the success condition increased worldview defense when confronted with their own mortality. However, rather than actively rejecting worldview, those who recalled personal failure only stopped defending, rather than actively rejecting, their culture. There were no significant interactive effects involving self-esteem. Discussion focused on implications for understanding vulnerability to radicalization and the growing problem of home-grown terror.
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