Jeff Schimel

Jeff Schimel
University of Alberta | UAlberta · Department of Psychology

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45
Publications
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4,383
Citations

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
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Atheism and agnosticism are becoming increasingly popular, yet the neural processes underpinning individual differences in religious belief and non-belief remain poorly understood. In the current study, we examined differences between Believers and Non-Believers with regard to fundamental neural resting networks using EEG microstate analysis. Resul...
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Terror management theory (TMT) proposes that the awareness of our eventual death is at odds with our evolved desire to live and that humans attempt to resolve this psychological conflict by investing in cultural worldviews that grant symbolic or literal immortality. The present studies examine the interplay between symbolic and literal immortality...
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How might we teach more successfully towards better relations between and among social groups? Recognizing factors that limit rapprochement with those with divergent worldviews has been a perennial concern for education research. However, more research is needed to understand how feelings of conflict arise, and thus this paper discusses terror mana...
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According to terror management theory, mortality salience (MS) increases distal worldview and self-esteem defensiveness by arousing unconscious death-thought accessibility (DTA). Although numerous studies support this theoretical process model, no research to date has ever found that DTA mediates the effect of MS in a single study, using the measur...
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The meaning maintenance model proposes that violations to one's expectations will cause subsequent meaning restoration. In attempts to distinguish meaning maintenance mechanisms from mechanisms of terror management, previous research has failed to find increased death-thought accessibility (DTA) in response to various meaning threats. The present r...
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Although numerous studies have examined compensatory reactions to ideological threats such as derogation, relatively little research has focused on alternative forms of defense. One such alternative, termed accommodation, involves accepting and incorporating parts of the threatening information into existing belief-structures. The present research...
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Terror management theory presents an account of how the avoidance of the potential anxiety accompanying knowledge of one’s inevitable mortality motivates a vast array of human behaviors. However, in practice, evidence from one of the hypotheses designed to test this account—the death thought accessibility (DTA) hypothesis—has been purely cognitive....
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Highly lethal terrorist attacks, which we define as those killing 21 or more people, account for 50% of the total number of people killed in all terrorist attacks combined, yet comprise only 3.5% of terrorist attacks. Given the disproportionate influence of these incidents, uncovering systematic patterns in attacks that precede and anticipate these...
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Terror management theory (TMT) shows that familiarity and novelty seeking are two distinct ways of deriving meaning. In the present research, we applied this analysis to individuals with two cultural backgrounds. Three studies examined whether these two divergent responses to mortality salience (MS) correspond with varying degrees of identity hybri...
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Extrinsic contingency focus reflects people's tendency to derive self-esteem by meeting socially (versus personally) defined standards. Three studies examined the relationship between extrinsic contingency focus (ECF) and responses to social ideals. The results of Studies 1 and 2 showed that exposure to advertisements that contained idealized body...
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Clinical evidence demonstrates that killing among soldiers at war predicts their experience of long-lasting trauma/distress. Killing leads to distress, in part, due to guilt experienced from violating moral standards. Because social consensus shapes what actions are perceived as moral and just, we hypothesized that social validation for killing wou...
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Terror management theory posits that cultural worldviews buffer people from thoughts and concerns about death. In support of this claim, numerous studies have shown that mortality salience (MS) increases an individual's motivation to uphold and defend important cultural worldviews. We hypothesized that the motivation to defend cultural worldviews f...
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One line of theorizing suggests considering death reminders—i.e., mortality salience (MS) inductions—unique in their effect on worldview defenses (e.g., Pyszczynski et al., 2006). Other theorizing suggests that meaning and certainty threats produce effects similar to MS and thus that these threats be considered theoretically equivalent (e.g., Proul...
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Terror management theory research has shown that reminders of mortality tend to decrease liking for people who threaten one's worldview. In research, these worldview threats typically come from outgroup members, but they may also come from ingroup members who are negatively characterized. Presumably the negative characteristics of ingroup members t...
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Four studies examined the relationship between self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone (level of influence of the parasympathetic nervous system on the heart), a variable with health implications for heart disease and auto-immune disorders. Building on evidence that self-esteem provides a sense of security and that a sense of security affects cardiac va...
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Terror management theory (TMT) highlights the motivational impact of thoughts of death in various aspects of everyday life. Since its inception in 1986, research on TMT has undergone a slight but significant shift from an almost exclusive focus on the manipulation of thoughts of death to a marked increase in studies that measure the accessibility o...
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Over the last decade a number of theorists have advanced a multifaceted conceptualization of self-esteem. Central to this idea is the notion that self-esteem is less secure and more defensive when individuals are more focused on extrinsic contingencies. To test the hypothesis that individuals with high dispositional levels of extrinsic contingency...
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According to terror management theory, the annihilation of people who threaten one's worldview should serve the function of defending that worldview. The present research assessed this hypothesis. A sample of Christian participants read either a worldview-threatening news article reporting on the Muslimization of Nazareth or a nonthreatening articl...
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Three studies assessed the impact of self-esteem threat on death-thought accessibility (DTA). Increased DTA resulted from three distinct types of self-esteem threat. Studies 1 and 2 employed negative feedback procedures in which participants were told that they scored below average on an intelligence test (Study 1), or that their personality was in...
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Terror management theory (TMT) posits that the need for self-esteem develops out of the socialization process in which children learn to abide by parental and, eventually, societal standards of ‘goodness’ to feel securely embedded in a cultural belief system. According to TMT, feeling safely immersed in a meaningful conception of reality (i.e., the...
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Terror management theory (TMT) posits that cultural worldviews and self-esteem function to buffer humans from mortality-related anxiety. TMT research has shown that important behaviors are influenced by mortality salience (MS) even when they have no obvious connection to death. However, there has been no attempt to investigate TMT processes in anxi...
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According to terror management theory, if the cultural worldview protects people from thoughts about death, then weakening this structure should increase death-thought accessibility (DTA). Five studies tested this DTA hypothesis. Study 1 showed that threatening Canadian participants' cultural values (vs. those of another culture) increased DTA on a...
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This study examined the effects of partner similarity versus differences from the perspective of terror management theory. Two hundred and sixty-six undergraduate students currently in a romantic relationship were randomly assigned to either a mortality salience or control condition, and a worldview prime condition in which they were asked to descr...
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Terror management research has typically found that people respond harshly toward offending others when reminded of their mortality. In the current research we examined whether mortality salience would increase attitudes of forgiveness toward such individuals, especially among those with high trait empathy. Consistent with prior research, Study 1 s...
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Although terror management theory has stimulated a wide body of research, no research to date has demonstrated empirically that intentions to engage in health-oriented behavior can function as a terror management defense. Toward this end, the present studies examined whether increased fitness intentions could be used as both a direct defense agains...
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The present studies were designed to investigate the effects of self-affirmation on the performance of women under stereotype threat. In Study 1, women performed worse on a difficult math test when it was described as diagnostic of math intelligence (stereotype threat condition) than in a non-diagnostic control condition. However, when women under...
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The present research investigated the hypotheses that elderly people can be reminders of our mortality and that concerns about our own mortality can therefore instigate ageism. In Study 1, college-age participants who saw photos of two elderly people subsequently showed more death accessibility than participants who saw photos of only younger peopl...
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Terror management theory (TMT; J. Greenberg, T. Pyszczynski, & S. Solomon, 1986) posits that people are motivated to pursue positive self-evaluations because self-esteem provides a buffer against the omnipresent potential for anxiety engendered by the uniquely human awareness of mortality. Empirical evidence relevant to the theory is reviewed showi...
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In this response to the commentaries regarding their terror management analysis of self-esteem (T. Pyszczynski, J. Greenberg, S. Solomon, J. Arndt, & J. Schimel, 2004), the authors focus on the convergence on certain points regarding self-esteem as a way of progressing toward an integrative perspective. In doing so, they briefly discuss how the nee...
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Three studies investigated whether affirming the self intrinsically (vs. extrinsically) would reduce defensive concerns and improve cognitive and social functioning in evaluative contexts. Study 1 found that an intrinsic self-affirmation reduced self-handicapping and increased performance on a threatening serial subtraction task relative to an extr...
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Two experiments tested the notion that allowing people to project a feared trait onto another individual would facilitate denial of the trait. In Study 1, participants were given feedback that they were high or low in repressed anger and were allowed to rate an ambiguous target on anger or not. Participants who received high (vs. low) anger feedbac...
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The terror management prediction that reminders of death motivate in-group identification assumes people view their identifications positively. However, when the in-group is framed negatively, mortality salience should lead to disidentification. Study 1 found that mortality salience increased women's perceived similarity to other women except under...
Article
The terror management prediction that reminders of death motivate in-group identification assumes people view their identifications positively. However, when the in-group is framed negatively, mortality salience should lead to disidentification. Study 1 found that mortality salience increased women's perceived similarity to other women except under...
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Terror management research has often shown that after reminders of mortality, people show greater investment in and support for groups to which they belong. The question for the present research was whether or not this would extend to Euro American investment in their identification as White. Although it seemed unlikely that White participants woul...
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Previous terror management research has shown that following mortality salience, there is an effortful suppression of death-related thoughts, reducing death-thought accessibility. This is followed, after a delay, by an increase in death thought accessibility, which instigates defense of the cultural worldview; that defense, in turn, reduces accessi...
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Three studies examined the possibility that being liked intrinsically by others - for who one is - reduces self-esteem defense, whereas being liked for what one has achieved does not. All 3 studies contrasted the effects on self-esteem defense of liking based on intrinsic or achievement-related aspects of self. Study 1 showed that thoughts of being...
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The present research examined the hypothesis derived from terror management theory that identifications with sports teams shield against the potential consequences of awareness of death. Experiment 1 demonstrated that Dutch participants who were reminded of their death expressed greater optimism about the results of the national soccer team compare...
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The present research examined the hypothesis derived from terror management theory that identifications with sports teams shield against the potential consequences of awareness of death. Experiment I demonstrated that Dutch participants who were reminded of their death expressed greater optimism about the results of the national soccer team compare...
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If stereotypes function to protect people against death-related concerns, then mortality salience should increase stereotypic thinking and preferences for stereotype-confirming individuals. Study 1 demonstrated that mortality salience increased stereotyping of Germans. In Study 2, it increased participants' tendency to generate more explanations fo...
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The present research, based on the ideas of O. Rank (1932/1989) and E. Becker (1973), was designed to test the hypotheses that engaging in creative expression after personal mortality has been made salient will lead to both increased feelings of guilt and a desire to enhance social connectedness. In Study 1, the authors used a 2 (mortality salience...

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