The Effect of Mortality Salience on Attitudes Towards National Outgroups 

Prusova, I. (National Research University Higher School of Economics), Gulevich, O. (National Research University Higher School of Economics) 

The aim of the study was to examine the mortality salience (MS) influence on attitudes towards ‘friendly’ and ‘unfriendly-oriented’ countries. According to the Terror Management Theory (TMT), MS enhances unfavorable attitudes toward ‘unfriendly-oriented’ countries and positive toward ‘friendly-oriented’. However, some studies indicate that MS reinforces only the negative attitudes toward ‘enemies’ without any effect on evaluations of ‘friends’. In the experimental procedure, 180 Russian students were assigned into six groups via experimental design: 2 (MS: experimental or control) x 3 (country: Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia). Then, participants watched films and completed the questionnaires of explicit (social distance, social thermometer, and trust) and implicit attitudes toward ‘friendly/unfriendly-oriented’ countries. The results showed that MS enhanced the negative attitudes toward Ukraine, and Estonia, without any effect on attitudes toward Belarus as a friendly-oriented country. Thus, the present results partly confirmed the TMT perspective. However, the MS effect might be moderated by intergroup threat. To define the pre-existing attitudes, we conducted an additional study. The outcomes of additional study showed that MS enhanced the negative attitudes towards ‘threatening’ outgroups. The present findings could be used in improving relationships from an international perspective. 

Twitter: @is_prusova 

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Norms, Stereotyping, and Social Identity