Handbook of Terror Management Theory provides an overview of Terror Management Theory (TMT), including critical research derived from the theory, recent research that has expanded and refined the theory, and the many ways the theory has been utilized to understand domains of human social life. The book uses TMT as a lens to help understand human relationships to nature, cultural worldviews, the self, time, the body, attachment, group identification, religion and faith, creativity, personal growth, and the brain.
The first section reviews theoretical and methodological issues, the second focuses on basic research showing how TMT enhances our understanding of a wide range of phenomena, and the third section, Applications, uses TMT to solve a variety of real world problems across different disciplines and contexts, including health behavior, aging, psychopathology, terrorism, consumerism, the legal system, art and media, risk-taking, and communication theory.
- Examines the three critical hypotheses behind Terror Management Theory (TMT)
- Distinguishes proximal and distal responses to death-thoughts
- Provides a practical toolbox for conducting TMT research
- Covers the Terror Management Health Model
- Discusses the neuroscience of fear and anxiety
- Identifies how fear motivates consumer behavior
- Relates fear of death to psychopathologies
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Section 1: Testing the Contours of the Theory 1. A Consideration of 3 Critical Hypotheses 2. Distinguishing Proximal and Distal Responses to Death-Thoughts 3. Controversies and Alternative Theories 4. TMT Toolbox: A Guide to Doing TMT Research
Section 2: How TMT Helps us Understand 5. The Need to Structure the World 6. Our Relationship with Nature 7. The Self 8. The Self in Time: Nostalgia 9. Human Concerns about Sex, the Body, and Animality 10. Attachment and Romantic Relationships 11. Group Identification 12. Religion 13. Secular Cultural Worldviews 14. Affect, Meaning, and Well-Being 15. Psychological Growth, Creativity, and Exploration 16. Existential Neuroscience: Terror Management and the Brain
Section 3: Applications 17. Health Attitudes and Behavior 18. Aging and Coping with Mortality 19. Psychopathology 20. Terrorism, War, and Peace-Making 21. Consumerism 22. The Legal System 23. Art and Media 24. Death and Risk Taking 25. Communication Theory and Terror Management
Dr. Clay Routledge is a social psychologist and professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University. His research focuses on the many ways that people gain and maintain perceptions of meaning in life and how these perceptions contribute to psychological and physical health. He has published over 80 scientific papers, including dozens of papers related to TMT. He co-edited a book on the psychology of meaning and authored the book Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Dr. Routledge's work has been featured by many media outlets such as The New York Times, CBS News, ABC News, BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, Men's Health, and The New Yorker. Dr. Routledge writes a popular online column for Psychology Today called "More Than Mortal, has served as a writer for a popular book series examining movie, television, and comic book franchises through the lens of psychology (e.g., The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead, Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind), has served as a guest blogger for Scientific American, and frequently serves as a guest expert for national and international radio programs.
Dr. Matthew Vess is a social psychologist and assistant professor of Psychological Science at Montana State University. His research broadly focuses on the basic processes underlying the pursuit for self-relevant meaning and value. He has published over 25 papers in some of the very best journals in social psychology (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), many of which are directly relevant to and/or inspired by TMT. Dr. Vess has also taught graduate level courses on existential experimental psychology and includes a dedication section to TMT in his undergraduate social psychology courses.