Subtle Priming of Shared Human Experiences Eliminates Threat-Induced Negativity Toward Arabs, Immigrants, and Peace-Making

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2011 Last revised: 4 May 2011

See all articles by Matt Motyl

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Joshua Hart

Union College

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

David R. Weise

University of Arizona

Cathy R. Cox

Texas Christian University

Molly Maxfield

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Angelika Siedel

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Date Written: April 20, 2011

Abstract

Many studies demonstrate that mortality salience can increase negativity toward out-groups but few have examined variables that mitigate this effect. The present research examined whether subtly priming people to think of human experiences shared by people from diverse cultures increases perceived similarity of members of different groups, which then reduces MS-induced negativity toward out-groups. In Study 1, exposure to pictures of people from diverse cultures engaged in common human activities non-significantly reversed the effect of MS on implicit anti-Arab prejudice. In Study 2, thinking about similarities between one’s own favorite childhood memories and those of people from other countries eliminated MS-induced explicit negative attitudes toward immigrants. In Study 3, thinking about similarities between one’s own painful childhood memories and those of people from other countries eliminated the MS-induced reduction in support for peace-making. Mediation analyzes suggest the effects were driven by perceived similarity of people across cultures. These findings suggest that priming widely shared human experiences can attenuate MS-induced inter-group conflict.

Keywords: terror management, implicit, prejudice, attitudes, peace-making, peace, conflict, intergroup relations, immigration, war

Suggested Citation

Motyl, Matt and Hart, Joshua and Pyszczynski, Tom and Weise, David R. and Cox, Cathy R. and Maxfield, Molly and Siedel, Angelika, Subtle Priming of Shared Human Experiences Eliminates Threat-Induced Negativity Toward Arabs, Immigrants, and Peace-Making (April 20, 2011). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1816685

Matt Motyl (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Joshua Hart

Union College ( email )

Schenectady, NY 12308-3151
United States

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

David R. Weise

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Cathy R. Cox

Texas Christian University ( email )

Fort Worth, TX 76129
United States

Molly Maxfield

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

Angelika Siedel

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

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