Effects of Mortality Salience and Uncertainty on Implicit Attitude Toward Religion




King, Shelby

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Reminders of death and personal uncertainty are so distressing that many individuals turn to religion for protection against the fears these reminders can conjure. To investigate this, the current study compared the effects of mortality salience (MS) and uncertainty salience (US) on implicit attitude toward religion. Differences in effects of MS and US on implicit positive attitude toward religion were predicted. A sample of 45 religious female undergraduates participated. After completing a demographic questionnaire, implicit measures of attitude toward religion were assessed using an affective priming task (APT) measuring reaction times (RT) to word valence classification following religious image primes. Participants then completed a written response to a prompt priming MS, US, or a control topic. A second APT tested changes in implicit attitude toward religion following this manipulation. A mixed ANOVA compared valence biases within repeated measures of APTs, between manipulation conditions, and between ethnicities. Results revealed a significant 4-way interaction between time, word valence, condition, and ethnicity. Results suggest that neither MS nor US induced significant changes in attitude toward religion that would imply greater defense of worldviews (i.e. more positive attitude toward religion) following existential distress.



mortality, uncertainty, religion, implicit, attitudes, terror management, affective priming, Honors College


King, S. (2013). Effects of mortality salience and uncertainty on implicit attitude toward religion (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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