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Despite the divergent nature of phenomena such as the sight of a large spider, the loss of a job, the thought of an airplane crashing, the prospect of being killed in a terrorist attack, or increasing cultural diversity in one’s country, they are similar in that they can all, at times, lead people to fear negative outcomes. People react to a threat primarily according to their interpretations of the threatening object or situation and the particular characteristics that they attribute to that object or situation. Therefore, the specific perceptions of, and attributions made about, the object that are shared in a given society can affect reactions to threats, sometimes irrespective of the actual level of threat posed by the given object or event. This entry ...

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