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The role of mortality awareness in hero identification

McCabe S, Carpenter RW & Arndt J (2016) The role of mortality awareness in hero identification, Self and Identity, 15 (6), pp. 707-726.

Three studies examine hypotheses derived from terror management theory to investigate the relationship between mortality concerns and hero identification. Study 1 found reminders of death, followed by a distraction task and a self-prime, led to greater inclusion of heroes in the self. Study 2 found that writing about a personal hero, but not other’s heroes or acquaintances, led to lower death-thought accessibility after being reminded of mortality. Finally, Study 3 found that after death reminders, participants led to identify with a hero exemplifying traits of legacy and/or sacrifice showed lower death thought accessibility. Findings are discussed as generative for heroism research, informing a previously overlooked motivation underlying hero identification and the existential function of such identification.

Heroism; terror management; identification; death thoughts

AuthorsMcCabe Simon, Carpenter Ryan W, Arndt Jamie
Publication date2016
Publication date online06/07/2016
Date accepted by journal21/06/2016
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN 1529-8868

Self and Identity: Volume 15, Issue 6

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