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Drawing Attention to Global Climate Change Decreases Support for War

Pyszczynski, T., Motyl, M., Vail, K. E., Hirschberger, G., Arndt, J., & Kesebir, P. (2012). Drawing attention to global climate change decreases support for war. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology

15 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2012  

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Kenneth Vail III

University of Missouri at Columbia

Gilad Hirschberger

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah

Jamie Arndt

University of Missouri at Columbia

Pelin Kesebir

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Date Written: October 1, 2012

Abstract

Three studies showed that focus on the shared human threat of global climate change can encourage peaceful coexistence and discourage support for war in the face of existential threat. In Study 1, mortality salience (MS) increased Americans’ support for international peace-building after imagining the consequences of global climate change, but not after imagining a localized catastrophe. Conversely, in Study 2, MS increased Americans’ support for war against Iran after imagining a localized catastrophe, but imagining global climate change completely eliminated this effect. Study 3 was conducted among Arab citizens of Israel during the January 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza. For those high in perceptions of shared humanity, MS increased support for peaceful coexistence with Israeli Jews after imagining global climate change but not a localized catastrophe that would affect both Muslims and Jews. Taken together, these studies suggest that reminders of global climate change short-circuit the increased support for violence that often occurs in response to existential threat and increase support for peaceful reconciliation.

Keywords: global climate change, terror management theory, existential anxiety, peace psychology, intergroup conflict, intergroup violence

JEL Classification: D74, H56

Suggested Citation

Pyszczynski, Tom and Motyl, Matt and Vail, Kenneth and Hirschberger, Gilad and Arndt, Jamie and Kesebir, Pelin, Drawing Attention to Global Climate Change Decreases Support for War (October 1, 2012). Pyszczynski, T., Motyl, M., Vail, K. E., Hirschberger, G., Arndt, J., & Kesebir, P. (2012). Drawing attention to global climate change decreases support for war. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2155355

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

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

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

Kenneth Vail III

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

MO
United States

Gilad Hirschberger

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah ( email )

Herzliya
Israel

Jamie Arndt

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

MO
United States

Pelin Kesebir

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds ( email )

1500 Highland Avenue, Suite S119
Waisman Center
Madison, WI 53705-2280
United States

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