Death, the Need for Unambiguous Knowledge, and the Construction and Maintenance of Multi-level Meaning
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2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved. From the perspective of terror management theory, the construction and maintenance of meaning serves a very important psychological function. It allows people to cope with the unsettling reality that their lives will one day end. This chapter (a) provides an overview of terror management theory's conceptualization of micro-level (structured knowledge and expectations about the world) and macro-level (perceived pathways to death-transcendence) meaning, (b) highlights differences in the ways that people construct meaning under conditions of elevated death-thought, and (c) explores how these differences can be used to understand people's responses when important foundations of meaning begin to crumble.
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The Experience of Meaning in Life