Getting Personal Power from Heroes: Effects of Heroes on Mitigating Meaning Threats

Posted: 27 Jul 2017

Date Written: July 12, 2016

Abstract

Extant research demonstrates that when people’s sense of meaning is threatened, they attempt to shore up their existing mental structures. This paper investigates a novel avenue to cope with meaning threats: getting personal power from human heroes. This research identifies the beneficiary effects of heroes on individuals and the underlying mechanism. Specifically, this research demonstrates that (a) people reminded of heroes have less need to search for meaning in life, (b) personal power mediates the effect of heroes on individuals’ search for meaning in life, (c) reminder of heroes can prevent unhealthy compensatory consumption of threatened individuals, and (d) human (but not non-human) heroes make individuals accept more of threatening messages and prevent conspicuous consumption. These findings suggest that threats stimulate a desire for more personal power, a drive that human heroes satisfy.

Keywords: Threats; Heroes; Compensatory Consumption; Power

Suggested Citation

Sarial-Abi, Gülen, Getting Personal Power from Heroes: Effects of Heroes on Mitigating Meaning Threats (July 12, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3009037

Gülen Sarial-Abi (Contact Author)

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

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