What is Terror Management Theory?

Terror Management Theory (TMT) is a psychological theory that was developed by two American social psychologists, Sheldon Solomon and Jeff Greenberg, in the 1980s. The theory suggests that humans have a deep-seated fear of death, and that this fear motivates our behavior and shapes our beliefs. TMT explains how people cope with the fear of death, and how this fear influences our behavior.

TMT is based on the idea that humans have a need to feel safe and secure in the face of their own mortality. This need is so strong that it motivates us to create and maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. This sense of meaning and purpose helps us to cope with the fear of death, and to live life to its fullest.

How Does Terror Management Theory Work?

TMT suggests that humans have a psychological need to feel safe and secure in the face of their own mortality. This need is so strong that it motivates us to create and maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. This sense of meaning and purpose helps us to cope with the fear of death, and to live life to its fullest.

TMT suggests that humans cope with the fear of death in two ways. Firstly, by creating and maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. This sense of meaning and purpose helps us to cope with the fear of death, and to live life to its fullest. Secondly, by denying or avoiding the thought of death. This denial or avoidance helps us to cope with the fear of death, and to maintain a sense of security and control in our lives.

Examples of Terror Management Theory in Action

TMT suggests that humans use a variety of strategies to cope with the fear of death. Some of these strategies include:

• Religion: People often turn to religion to cope with the fear of death. Religion provides a sense of meaning and purpose, and offers hope and comfort in the face of death.

• Cultural Values: People often turn to their cultural values and beliefs to cope with the fear of death. These values and beliefs provide a sense of meaning and purpose, and help to create a sense of security and control in the face of death.

• Self-Esteem: People often turn to their self-esteem to cope with the fear of death. High self-esteem helps to create a sense of security and control, and helps us to feel that our lives have meaning and purpose.

• Achievement: People often turn to achievement to cope with the fear of death. Achievement helps to create a sense of meaning and purpose, and helps us to feel that our lives have value and worth.

Conclusion

Terror Management Theory is a psychological theory that suggests that humans have a deep-seated fear of death, and that this fear motivates our behavior and shapes our beliefs. TMT suggests that humans cope with the fear of death by creating and maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, and by denying or avoiding the thought of death. Examples of TMT in action include religion, cultural values, self-esteem, and achievement.

FAQs

What is Terror Management Theory?

Terror Management Theory is a psychological theory that suggests that the fear of death and mortality motivates people to engage in behaviours that provide a sense of meaning and value in life.

What are the core concepts of Terror Management Theory?

The core concepts of Terror Management Theory are that mortality salience, self-esteem, and cultural worldviews are used to manage the fear of death and mortality.

What is mortality salience?

Mortality salience is the awareness of one’s own mortality. It is the psychological state of being aware of one’s own mortality and the inevitability of death.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is an individual’s overall opinion of themselves. It is a measure of how much an individual values themselves and their own abilities.

What are cultural worldviews?

Cultural worldviews are the beliefs, values, and norms that a particular culture holds. These beliefs, values, and norms provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life and help to manage the fear of death and mortality.

References


1. Greenberg, J., Pyszczynski, T., & Solomon, S. (1986). The causes and consequences of a need for self-esteem: A terror management theory. In R. F. Baumeister (Ed.), Public self and private self (pp. 189-212). New York, NY, US: Springer US.

2. Dechesne, M., & Janssen, J. (2003). Terror management and aggression: Evidence that mortality salience motivates aggression against worldview-threatening others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(5), 795-803.

3. Gailliot, M. T., Schmeichel, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (2007). Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: Willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(2), 325-336.