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Keywords:

  • terror management;
  • ideology;
  • conservatism;
  • mortality salience;
  • anxiety

Ideological beliefs have long attracted the attention of social psychologists, who have investigated their genesis as well as their influence on a host of social phenomena. Conservatism, from the Motivated Social Cognition framework, stems from epistemic and existential needs of the individual, and notably the fear of death. However, Terror Management Theory proposes a view of conservatism and its contrary, liberalism, as equivalent cultural worldviews, equally fit to fulfill such needs. In the present contribution, results are presented from five studies, which test the contrasting hypotheses derived from these two perspectives. A new perspective is considered that accounts for these and previous findings.