- Leaving a legacy neutralizes negative effects of death anxiety on creativity
- Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Mortality salience (MS) can lead to a paralyzing terror, and to cope with this, people strive for literal or symbolic immortality. As MS leads to conformity and narrow-mindedness, we predicted that MS would lead to lower creativity, unless creativity itself could lead to leaving a legacy and thus symbolic immortality. We show that this pattern holds (Experiment 1), but only when creativity is socially valued (Experiment 2). Finally, especially individualistic people are more creative under MS when they can leave a legacy than when they cannot, and high originality predicts subsequent accessibility of death thoughts (Experiment 3). Implications are discussed.
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