Presentation Title

Terror Management Theory: Online News Leading To Online Aggression

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Melissa Soenke

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 79

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Terror management theory (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) states that awareness of our own mortality can cause anxiety that we manage using two systems that offer ways to transcend death: cultural worldviews and self-esteem. As social media use grows so has the issue of cyber aggression. This is because social media has become a place where people discuss conflicting topics. The current study investigates whether subtle reminders of death on social media induce aggressive online behavior as an effective way of managing existential concerns. Participants were reminded of death or a neutral control topic through an image of a Facebook newsfeed that we created. This is a novel and subtle way to remind participants about death. We hypothesized that participants given the death reminder would show increased death awareness and more aggression toward people who threatened their worldview. Initial results demonstrated that, contrary to predictions, the newsfeed article about death did not increase thoughts of death. Follow up studies are underway addressing some of the limitations of the initial study as well as examining online aggression. This study represents a new direction in online aggression research, as most of the current research done now is in relation to moral detachment.

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Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

Terror Management Theory: Online News Leading To Online Aggression

CREVELING 79

Terror management theory (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) states that awareness of our own mortality can cause anxiety that we manage using two systems that offer ways to transcend death: cultural worldviews and self-esteem. As social media use grows so has the issue of cyber aggression. This is because social media has become a place where people discuss conflicting topics. The current study investigates whether subtle reminders of death on social media induce aggressive online behavior as an effective way of managing existential concerns. Participants were reminded of death or a neutral control topic through an image of a Facebook newsfeed that we created. This is a novel and subtle way to remind participants about death. We hypothesized that participants given the death reminder would show increased death awareness and more aggression toward people who threatened their worldview. Initial results demonstrated that, contrary to predictions, the newsfeed article about death did not increase thoughts of death. Follow up studies are underway addressing some of the limitations of the initial study as well as examining online aggression. This study represents a new direction in online aggression research, as most of the current research done now is in relation to moral detachment.