Mortality Salience and Self-Stereotyping
Terror management theory (TMT) states that mortality salience can threaten an individual's identity and cultural worldviews. Cultural worldviews help minimize uncertainty and create a sense of social identity in the world. Social categorization can be defined as an individual's identification with a group or it can be referred to as "stereotyping." In general, stereotyping is viewed as something negative, but in situations with mortality salience, individuals will self-verify themselves into a specific social group. In the past, studies have shown that mortality salience leads to favoring characteristics and the people in one's own social group. In the present study, it was hypothesized that individuals will self-stereotype themselves into social groups when threatened by the thought of death. 54 undergraduate females from University of Michigan participated in the experiment in exchange for credit. The surveys included either a mortality salient condition or a control condition. The results were not significant in which individuals in a mortality salient condition will self-stereotype themselves into a social group in order to find comfort.