Mortality salience increases adherence to salient norms and values. Academic Article uri icon


  • Four studies indicate that mortality salience increases adherence to social norms and values, but only when cultural norms and values are salient. In Study 1, mortality salience coupled with a reminder about cultural values of egalitarianism reduced prejudice toward Blacks among non-Black participants. In Studies 2 through 4, a mortality salience induction (e.g., walking through a cemetery) increased self-reported and actual helping behavior only when the cultural value of helping was salient. These results suggest that people may adhere to norms and values so as to manage awareness of death.

published proceedings

  • Pers Soc Psychol Bull

altmetric score

  • 24

author list (cited authors)

  • Gailliot, M. T., Stillman, T. F., Schmeichel, B. J., Maner, J. K., & Plant, E. A

citation count

  • 115

complete list of authors

  • Gailliot, Matthew T||Stillman, Tyler F||Schmeichel, Brandon J||Maner, Jon K||Plant, E Ashby

publication date

  • July 2008