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Terror Management Theory

All humans view life through a culturally based worldview. According to terror management theory, a central function of these worldviews is to imbue existence with meaning and our lives with enduring significance to obscure the terrifying possibility that existence is a brief episode punctuated with oblivion upon death. Groups serve a central role in perpetuating these worldviews, and conflict is often fueled by the threat that other groups' worldviews pose to sustaining faith in the validity of one's own worldview.

Building on Ernest Becker's existential psychoanalytic writings, Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski formulated terror management theory and initiated research to assess the theory. A large body of published experiments from many countries has supported the theory. One central finding is that reminding people of ...

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