Can you raise your self-esteem by thinking about death?

Using a variety of approaches and an array of methodologies, research has shown that mortality salience enhances people’s self-esteem. In line with previous work on terror management theory, the current study tested the hypothesis that when mortality salience is high, implicit self-esteem (ISE) is, paradoxically, more positive than when mortality salience is low. Participants were given an implicit measure of self-evaluation either before or after completion of a series of terrorism-related questions. As predicted, participants who completed the terrorism questionnaire first exhibited significantly more positive ISE than did those who completed it second. Ironically, it seems that implicitly, people may feel better about themselves in the face of terrorist attacks designed to demoralize them.

Source: “Death? Be Proud! The Ironic Effects of Terror Salience on Implicit Self-Esteem” from Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 494–507, February 2009

Sounds a little crazy but watch the Steve Jobs video above starting at 9 minutes in. Interesting.

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