Ambivalence Toward the Body: Death, Neuroticism, and the Flight From Physical Sensation
mortality salience, neuroticism, physical sensation, inhibition
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Based on terror management theory, the authors suggest that ambivalent reactions to the human body are partially rooted in the association of the physical body with inescapable death and that individuals high in neuroticism are particularly vulnerable to such difficulties. Three experiments demonstrated that priming thoughts about one’s death leads individuals high in neuroticism to flee from physical sensations, including pleasurable ones. In response to mortality salience, highly neurotic individuals spent less time submerging their arm in ice-cold water and using an electric foot massager but did not avoid stimulation in nontactile modalities (i.e., listening to music). The discussion highlights the role of existentially motivated self-repression in inhibitions surrounding the body.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, v. 32, issue 9, p. 1264- 1277
Scholar Commons Citation
Goldenberg, Jamie L.; Hart, Joshua; Pyszczynski, Tom; Warnica, Gwendolyn M.; Landau, Mark; and Thomas, Lisa, "Ambivalence Toward the Body: Death, Neuroticism, and the Flight From Physical Sensation" (2006). Psychology Faculty Publications. 1506.