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Monday, June 8, 2015

Death Denial

By Marc Parry
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Originally published May 22, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

The terror trio’s conclusion: People react differently to conscious and unconscious thoughts of death. While thinking about death directly, Pyszczynski says, folks do rational things to get away from it, like trying to get healthy. It’s when death lurks on the fringes of consciousness that they cling to worldviews and seek self-esteem. "That helps explain why these ideas might seem strange to some people," says Pyszczynski, a professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. "You can’t really introspect on it. While you’re thinking about death, this isn’t what you do."

Pyszczynski, Solomon, and Greenberg published their work consistently in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. But early on, as Greenberg tells it, "its main impact was to get us ostracized by the rest of the field of social psychology." Part of that was due to the disconcerting subject matter. Colleagues referred to them as "the death guys."

The entire article is here.