Perceived collective continuity and ingroup identification as defence against death awareness

Fabio Sani, Marina Herrera, M. Bowe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)


    Perhaps unique among the animal species, humans are aware that they will ultimately die. Terror management theory (TMT) posits that investing in a social group helps people to manage paralysing anxiety stemming from death awareness. In line with this proposition, research to date has shown that when reminded of their own mortality, people increase their identification with a relevant group and defend its beliefs, values, and practices. In the reported study, we demonstrate that a mortality salience induction enhances people's perceptions of group temporal endurance-or perceived collective continuity (PCC), as we define it. Enhanced PCC leads, in turn, to enhanced group identification. This is in line with the TMT assumption that death awareness leads people to invest in a social group because this constitutes a temporally enduring meaning-system that imbues life with meaning, order, and permanence, and promises death transcendence to those who meet the prescribed standards of value. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)242-245
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


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