Comparison of the Different Viewpoints on Death in On the Fear of Death and Evidence For Terror Management Theory
The topic of death can bring about negative emotions to some while others embrace death. Cultural and religious backgrounds create many different viewpoints on life, the afterlife, and coping with the death of a loved one. On the Fear of Death by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Evidence For Terror Management Theory: The Effect of Mortality Salience on Reactions to Those Who Violate or Uphold Cultural Values a study written by Abram Rosenblatt, Jeff Greenberg, Deborah Lyon, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski Both bring out unique points about death in two separate styles. This essay aims to discuss the difference between the two works, the key points brought out in each, and how each document is organized and what the intended audience is.
Both documents touch on the psychological topics of death and how people react to it. Kubler-Ross wrote based on her past experiences with how she saw people from different cultures reacting to death and how historicaly methods of grief have remained very similar. Terror Management Theory was a document written by university professors to prove the hypothesis “when people are reminded of their own mortality, they are especially motivated to maintain their cultural anxiety-buffer, and thus are especially punitive toward those who violate it and especially benevolent to those who uphold it” (682).
The Terror Management Theory excerpt provided contained the experiment to see how 22 judges ruled on an alleged prostitute when half of them were reminded of their own morals and beliefs through a survey. This made the experiment rather unbiased. Terror Management Theory brought out the two points that when someone is reminded of their morals it can affect their decision and that ones belief system helps in coping with an existential fear of death.
On the Fear of Death aims to describe how humans deal with death of loved ones and friends. Kubler makes the point that humans have been grieving the same way for centuries by stating “I give these examples to emphasize that man has not basically changed” (196). On the other hand, Evidence for Terror Management Theory aimed to discover In the first experiment how one would react when their mortality was made certain by asking judges to set a bond on a person, they were told was a prostitute.
Although both works are factual, Kubler was a psychiatrist and as such her document was written based on her personal experiences and observations. On the fear of Death is structured completely differently from Terror Management Theory which clearly states out a hypothesis, explains the experiment, describes how the test was conducted, and finally ends with listing out the observations of the experiment.
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