Evidence for a role of death thought in American attitudes toward symbols of Islam
Four studies were conducted to examine how concerns about mortality contribute to Americans' negative attitudes and behavior toward symbols of Islam. Study 1 found that a subtle reminder of death decreased support for the Ground Zero mosque, and increased the distance from Ground Zero that people felt was appropriate for a mosque to be built. Study 2 found that asking people to think about a mosque being built in their neighborhood increased the accessibility of implicit death thoughts. Study 3 replicated the results of Study 2 and showed that thinking of a church or synagogue did not produce the same effect as thinking of a mosque. Study 4 found that heightened death thought accessibility in response to a mortality salience induction was eliminated when the participants read a newspaper account of the desecration of the Quran.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Cohen, Florette; Soenke, Melissa; Solomon, Sheldon; and Greenberg, Jeff, "Evidence for a role of death thought in American attitudes toward symbols of Islam" (2013). Psychology Faculty Scholarship. 1.