Effects Of Death Related Anxiety On Ethnic Stereotypes Sociology Essay Example
Effects Of Death Related Anxiety On Ethnic Stereotypes Sociology Essay Example

Effects Of Death Related Anxiety On Ethnic Stereotypes Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 18 (8872 words)
  • Published: August 13, 2017
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The effects of mortality saliency ( MS ) were studied in cardinal Sri Lanka, with Sinhala participants, after a tsunami tidal moving ridge hit the costal lands of Sri Lanka on 26 December 2004. The information was collected within a period of four months. A control group and a MS group were given the opportunity to rate Sinhalese/Tamils on a list of 21 stereotypes. Retroflexing research with western samples, participants in the MS group perceived own-group as more spiritual - a agency of heightening self-pride. Yet, Consequences on out-group perceptual experience were wholly opposite to research consequences obtained in the West. Theoretical deductions are discussed giving accent to conflict declaration and peace devising from social-psychological positions.


There are many who helped me in the procedure of finishing this undertaking. My honorable gratitude to all of them. Among them, I wish to advert Dr. Desmond Mallikarachchi, Department of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Peradeniya, - my thesis supervisor, who helped me so much with many helpful suggestions, from which, I benefited to a great trade. A particular thanks to Dr. Mark Schaller, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada - for the counsel and exposure he gave me in the field of Social-Psychological research.

I thank Mrs. Angela Gertrude Pelpola ( my beloved female parent ) who helped me and encouraged me in legion ways, while endorsing me financially. Along with, thanks to Mr. Shamal Abeysinghe ( my brother ) who helped me to do this a success with the aid he gave in carry oning the experiment an


d informations aggregation. Thankss besides to Late Mr. Wimal & A ; Rasika Abeysinghe ( my male parent and elder brother ) for the unmeasurable part they made to the success of my life.

I am thankful to Ms. Manisha Ariyarathne & A ; Ms. Liendra Miriyagalle for the support, encouragement, and loving attention, which was a great piece of strength in my university calling and in the procedure of finishing this thesis.

I besides thank Mr. M.K.D. Ranasinghe ( my roomie ) for his support and encouragement, Ms. Heshani Ranasinghe, Mr. Nalinda Nagolla, Ms. Niluka Pathinayake, and all my friends who helped me in many ways, and most significantly, my fellow pupils at the University of Peradeniya who volunteered as trial participants. Last, but non the least, I thank my fiancee Sumuduni Vithanage in a really particular manner for the support, encouragement, and above all, for the love she has for me. It was a great strength in the procedure of finishing my thesis successfully.


'Negative attitudes towards out-group and its effects have ever been an experience throughout human history, which the nowadays is non an exclusion. In fact, the force among groups has become many times destructive today compared to the state of affairs a century ago.

The psychological survey of cultural stereotypes and biass today, travel beyond scientific ends to practical societal ends. The premise behind this is, if the causes, or the factors that give rise to, or increase cultural stereotypes and bias attitudes can be identified, so, worlds would be better able to voyage around the jobs that prejudice create, and might besides

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be able to device intercessions to suppress the prolongation of these jobs.

However, it is non wise to over generalise the practical ability to use these kinds of consequences. As it is more easy to give rise to stereotypes and bias rather rapidly in societal psychological experiments, it is besides easy to extinguish them more easy than in the existent universe where bias frequently have a longer histories and deeper roots.

From early as 1930s, psychologists have focused attending towards the causes that provoke negative attitudes in the heads of people towards out-group. What perchance are the factors that play a function in doing people favor ain cultural group? Why and when do people move violently against out-group? What are the internal and external factors that precipitate and predispose persons towards such behaviour forms?

The 100s and 1000s of research surveies done on this subject have shown that the factors, which lead people to negative attitudes against other people and groups, have many different procedures and causes. Many different facets of personality, many different psychological procedures, and many environmental state of affairss can take to Negative Attitudes ( cultural stereotypes and biass ) towards other groups of people.

Research works show that many variables have an impact on engendering biass in persons. Ambient darkness ; Schaller et al. , 2003, the experiential fright associated with cognition of one 's ain mortality ; Greenberg, Solomon, & A ; Pyszczynski, 1997, Geographical frame of mention ; Schaller & A ; Abeysinghe, ( on print ) , Influence of specific facets of the immediate context ; Gilbert & A ; Hixon, 1991 ; Sinclair & A ; Kunda, 1999, ego threat-challenge to one 's self-esteem - facilitates the activation of negative cultural stereotypes and increases out-group bias ; Brown, Collines, and Schmidt, 1988 ; Fein & A ; Spencer, 1997, are a few illustrations of the many surveies on this subject.

The present survey purpose to concentrate on a dimension that more psychological research should be conducted in order to broaden the apprehension and enrich the present cognition on ethno political struggles and human behaviour forms promoting the field of psychological research in Sri Lanka.

Ethno-Political Background of Sri Lanka in Brief

Sri Lanka has an ethnically plural society. Among the major cultural groups, which are Sinhala, Tamils and Muslims there are besides minor cultural communities such as the Malay Muslims, Portuguese Burgers, Colombo Chetty 's, Boras, Parses etc. While ethnicity can be taken in history of common histories, there are besides those cultural differences coming from being born into a peculiar spiritual group. Therefore, among the major cultural groups, there is another division based on spiritual beliefs and imposts and they are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims once more.

The dominant cultural group in Sri Lanka is therefore far considered the Sinhalese who are about about 74 % of the population. Sinhalese are considered as the bulk non merely because they are more in figure but besides because they are more powerful in footings of political and economic factors in the state. The Tamil come 2nd with a population about 18 % .

There has been conflict between Sinhalese and Tamils

for decennaries and ongoing military force since the early 1980s. Since the mid 1980s, a hawkish Tamil organisation - Liberation Lttes of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE ) - has fought a political, military, and terrorist run for a autonomous Tamil province ( Eelam ) busying the northern and eastern parts of the island. The larger Sinhala, Sri Lankan authorities has deployed its military in an effort to get the better of this LTTE run. The struggle and its effects have vitally shaped life in Sri Lanka for over two decennaries.

A ceasefire that has continuously seemed fragile is on consequence from 2002, up to day of the month ( 12 June 2005 ) , along with slow traveling set of dialogues designed to research agencies toward accomplishing a lasting solution to the struggle. Though the peace procedure was traveling on at the clip this research was conducted, the misgiving in the Sinhala people towards the Sri Lanka authorities and the LTTE is notable.


Merely as decease is inevitable, so are the ideas and frights associated with it. This is a cosmopolitan fact. The sum of beliefs, rites, and literature refering decease in all civilizations are important grounds to this. Research work pioneered in the USA and Europe give grounds that the fright of oncoming decease or the anxiousness provoked by the cognition of one 's ain mortality is a important factor finding a individual 's behaviour and personality. This makes him or her important among the remainder in the society because of the actions he/she take to get the better of this anxiousness.

Research work on Terror Management Theory has given grounds that the effort to get the better of fright and anxiousness caused by the cognition of ain mortality leads one to move in favour of ain civilization and cultural artefacts. Meanwhile, it leads to negative attitudes and unfavourable behaviours towards other civilizations and/or groups of people who are perceived to hold different worldviews.

Though surveies done in the West have shown back uping grounds, Terror Management Theory has non been tested in many parts of the universe. Sri Lanka is a state sing negative effects of an inter group struggle for over 20 old ages. The historical roots of this struggle can be seen in the colonial epoch. Then, it farther goes to the antediluvian Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa lands of Sri Lankan history, which is over 2000 old ages back.

Harmonizing to Mahawamsa, and Choolawamsa writers of Sri Lankan history, there are many occasions that south Indian swayers invaded the island, and brave male monarchs like king Dutugamunu victoriously won independency for the Sinhala people from these south Indian encroachers. This is the history of the state from the Sinhala point of position, and it greatly differs from what the L.T.T.E and few Tamil political motions read as the Sri Lankan history. Therefore, this indicates that the positions against the Tamils in Sinhalese heads ( this may be the state of affairs other manner excessively, though it was non examined in this survey ) are implanted throughout history in the heads of Sinhala people. They are historical and cultural buildings. Therefore, in the

journey towards a solution, it is of import to see what possible causes could give rise to negative attitudes and pigeonholing.

Sociological and anthropological surveies done so far have focused on the societal factors in the surfboarders and latent degrees including some possible cognitive factors. However, harmonizing to my cognition, there are merely a small or no surveies done on the deep-seated psychological factors taking to cultural stereotyping and biass in Sri Lanka. This besides includes how people would act in liminal state of affairss. In add-on, harmonizing to my cognition, this is the first clip Terror Management Theory is tested in Sri Lanka. Thus, the capable affair of this survey is of import from a political psychological, personality and societal psychological position in the field of research in Sri Lanka.

Aim of the Study

The primary aim of this survey is to analyze the effects of the anxiousness caused by ideas of one 's ain mortality ( Death related anxiousness ) , in giving rise to cultural stereotypes when thought of ain group ( clique ) and other cultural groups ( out-group ) . The survey was done in relation to the 26 December 2004, Tsunami incident.

The secondary aims of the survey are to as follows. Test the relevancy of Terror Management Theory in the Sri Lankan context. Open a new detainment of scientific survey in the field of Personality Psychology in Sri Lanka with the introducing of Terror Management Theory to societal psychological research in Sri Lanka. Contribute to the survey field of ethno political struggles from a psychological position in placing causes as a agency of happening solutions.

Significance of the Study

This research becomes important for several grounds. They are as follows. This is an chance for the development of psychological surveies on bias behaviours in Sri Lanka. It is a fact that psychological surveies on this country are really rare in the Sri Lankan context. Therefore, the findings of this survey will be an enterprise for the bookmans to go on their work on relevant subjects in relation to factors giving rise to negative attitudes and pigeonholing. In add-on, it would be a disclosure for research workers to concentrate attending on this of import country of survey.

Furthermore, the findings of this survey should be of involvement non merely in relation to the ethno political state of affairs in Sri Lanka. Conversely, the findings and deductions should be of involvement to societal scientists with an involvement in ethno political struggles and peace devising in any context. Besides, the findings should be of involvement to psychologists who study stereotypes and political attitudes.

In add-on, this survey should be of involvement and usage to anyone carry oning research on the Origins of Personality, and behavior alteration in the Sri Lankan context because the figure of surveies on this field excessively is really small.

Besides, as there is no work done in relation to Terror Management Theory in the context of Sri Lanka and many other parts of the universe, this research would decidedly be a pioneering piece of work in relation to the field of Death Related Anxiety in Sri Lanka.

As all the above-named grounds

are of import, it should be noted that, the survey is based on, informations collected in the thick of a natural catastrophe ( tsunami ) . Therefore, the survey is besides, on how people behave, as they perceive civilisation defeated by nature. For that ground, this survey should be of involvement to any academic who is concerned about the development of the field of psychological research in Sri Lanka, and becomes a important piece of open uping research work.

Scope of the Study

This survey highlights one underscore cause among the many psychological causes of ethno political struggles. As this is likely the first clip the effects of decease related anxiousness on human behaviour is studied in Sri Lanka from a psychological position, this is merely done with limited sum of participants from one portion of the state trusting that it will pave the manner and draw attending of future bookmans towards this field of survey. In add-on the survey besides concentrate on how people behave and think when nature strikes human civilisation ; how it affects the set thought forms of people along with the fright of decease that comes down with it. Hundred and 24 university undergraduates ( age between 20-27 old ages ) , who were Sinhalese, from the cardinal portion of Sri Lanka took portion in the survey.

The undermentioned restrictions are important in relation to the survey

A major restriction to the survey was the inability to mensurate accurately the psychological effects of the tsunami catastrophe to the trial participants before mortality was made salient with the evaluation inquiry. Therefore, it is impossible to state precisely the inquiry 's consequence on doing mortality salient. Therefore, it does non go forth room for future researches to retroflex the same process reliably to do mortality salient for research intent. Research besides failed to measure the consequence of the experimental conditions on responses statistically.

Another restriction of the survey is that it is impossible to generalise the trial consequences. Due to be and clip restraints, the experiment had to be conducted merely one time in Sri Lanka, by integrating a limited figure of participants who represent one portion of the state and one cultural group belonging to the same age group and educational background.

Besides, even though the 2nd set of information was collected after about four and half months from the tsunami catastrophe, there is no empirical grounds that mortality was still non outstanding in the unconscious heads of the participants. Therefore, there is a possibility that experimental conditions would hold had a different consequence on participants if at least one set of informations were collected before the tsunami catastrophe. However, concentrating on the end of lending to peace devising, this should non be a restriction, as struggle declaration is a procedure that has to everything to make in the bing conditions of the state and its people.

Literature Review

Before concentrating on the consequences and the treatment of this survey, it is sound to pay attending to some surveies that herald the manner to the present 1. 'Death ' and 'ethnic stereotypes ' are two wide countries that are continuously taken into treatment by

faculty members every bit good as laypersons. In this study of literature, focal point is chiefly on the research findings that link decease related anxiousness to human idea procedure refering cultural stereotypes. To pave the manner, allow us mention to some readings on the subject of 'Death ' .

Death and Death Related Anxiety

Death has ever been a important subject for the human sort. Ideas about what constitutes decease vary with different civilizations and in different periods. Harmonizing to Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003, decease is defined as the cease of critical bodily maps, which are take a breathing, circulation ( as evidenced by the whipping of the bosom ) , and the encephalon maps to an irreversible province.

Throughout history, people wanted to believe that decease was non the terminal of the journey of life. Thousands of surveies have been done on the subject 'death ' . Scientists, politicians, poets , and people from about all Fieldss have spoken of it.

Harmonizing to Diane E. Papalia & A ; Sally Wendkos Olds, there are at least three facets of deceasing. They are, biological, societal, and psychological. The physical definition of decease, as said harmonizing to Encarta 2003 is the halt of pulse or electrical activity of the encephalon for a sufficient sum of clip. This standard has become, and is going more complex as scientific discipline and engineering is progressing. The societal facet of decease revolves around funeral and bereaved rites and legal agreements for the heritage of power and wealth of the dead individual. The psychological facet of decease involve the manner people feel both about their ain decease as it draws near, and about the decease of those close to them. Most people today have a serious job in coming into footings with the significance of decease. The large inquiry is, 'is it the terminal? '

Human existences of course fear of things that are unknown and out of control to them. Cipher has yet returned from the dead to state what decease is like. The so called near decease experience is non proved to be decease. Therefore, decease finally becomes a topic of the unknown. In add-on, it is out of control and inevitable. Immortality is merely a dream. Therefore, these factors make the right conditions for worlds to fear decease. Peoples prefer to speak of decease in academic footings and in a planetary manner, such as 'living existences dice ' , or 'someday, we all die ' and so on. However, seldom would anyone like to state 'someday, die I will decease ' .

Harmonizing to Alpitiye Gnanissara Thero, Death is simply taking another signifier or altering from one position to another. That is what Buddhism teaches as Anicca or impermanency. The Buddhist books explain this phenomenon as follows.

Gnanissara thero provinces, Death is sorrowful for worlds. Nothing enjoyable or lasting can be derived from sorrowful occurrences. This is why Buddhism teaches that Anicca gives rise to agony.[ 13 ]Harmonizing to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, it discusses the most of import inquiry in relation to human existences. The Mahayanists say that this book teaches more about life instead

than decease by talking of decease.[ 14 ]What this doctrine emphasizes is, 'to learn about decease is to larn about life. ' Death is merely another province of the samsara chakra or the circle of life. Therefore, it is another of import, graceful, and compulsory province in this journey. The undermentioned citation from the Tibetan Book of the Dead illustrates its position on decease clearly.

And as we stand on the border of darkness

Let our chant make full the nothingness

That others may cognize

In the land of the dark

The ship of the Sun

Is drawn by

The thankful dead

Reasoning his book, Rev. Gnanissara states ; harmonizing to Buddhism, decease is a natural phenomenon that no 1 can alter. In simple footings, birth is the cause of decease. The cognition and apprehension of decease helps human existences to recognize the world of life and eradicate agony.

Looking at the western point of position about decease, harmonizing to Dr. James Kalat, worlds normally associate decease with older people, although people die at any age. ''This is because people wish that decease were something that can be planed and non sudden. Peoples easy bury the fact that there are babies, kids, striplings, immature grownups and people from all age groups expecting deathaˆ¦ knowing of their terminal illnessesaˆ¦some await in prisons for decease as they have been sentenced. All these people have to confront the feeling of the oncoming decease. They may respond to this feeling otherwise depending on their ability understand and ground out the oncoming decease, their personalities, and the societal state of affairss they are in. Some of them may move angrily, some may turn to mysticism, and some end up in provinces of denial.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss head-shrinker who did some landmark surveies on decease and dyeing provinces that adult male can non keep denial of his fright of decease forever. He can non continuously and successfully feign that he is safe. If we can non deny decease, we may try to get the hang it. We may fall in the race on the main roads, we may read the decease toll over national vacations and frisson, but besides rejoice - `` It was the other cat, non me, I made it '' .

Kubler-Ross farther says in her book 'On Death and Dying ' ; worlds use many ways to get the better of mortality or to get the hang it. Harmonizing to her, worlds act of prosecuting in war and destructing enemies is a agency of confronting decease and conquest or get the hanging it. She interprets these Acts of the Apostless as the consequence of the inability to confront ain decease with self-respect and assurance. Another manner humans act towards the cognition of the oncoming decease and the demand to immortality is to dispute it. This may be done in many ways such as driving or siting at high velocity on the main roads, bungee jumping, and taking assorted hazards in athleticss.

Ernest Becker ( 1973 ) , in his influential book, 'Denial of Death ' , argued that people do many things - such as holding kids and go throughing wealth

to following coevals - to accomplish a sort of symbolic immortality. He farther asserts that the fright of decease is natural and present in everyone no affair how disguised it may be. The fright of decease is an emotional manifestation of the self-preservation inherent aptitude. Most people likely seldom think about decease or their ultimate single value. Rather, they think about their ends and aspirations relevant to their callings, relationships, avocations, and the agencies through which these ends are achieved[ 20 ].

As what Becker stated is right, so is the fact that decease comes to most people at a clip, topographic point, and manner they do non make up one's mind. This is the inevitable terminal of life, which begins with construct. As a individual is deceasing, one might look behind in clip as to what has been made out of lifeaˆ¦how one could happen significance to life. After people die, people around them attempt to happen significance to the dead 1 's life.

When I was born I was given the name Etok?

What does Etok intend? It has no significance?

I do n't understand. Why non? Until I die.

Then the significance and definition of the name Etok will be written.


The significance and how of Etok has lived

This Native American tribal thought about a name of a individual, and how it becomes meaningful after the individuals ' decease, says aloud of how civilization has given a opportunity to the individual to populate after natural decease in the civilization that is supposed to be everlastingly. Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. , and Che Guevara, are a few illustrations for such personalities. Peoples are evaluated and granted ageless life in the heads of people by civilization. Therefore, since it assist them to get the better of the anxiousness about ain oncoming decease ; people tend to stay by these cognitive maps, which the civilization created.

Death, as mentioned earlier is a subject of treatment from the really old yearss of human history that would travel on until the human race exists. As the chief subject of this thesis is non simply to discourse on decease, it is sound to understand of ethnicity and cultural stereotypes while saying that the aggravation of decease related anxiousness in human head chiefly depend on the perceptual experience one has of decease. Greek philosopher Socrates is said to hold made his concluding statement as follows, But it is now clip to go, - for me to decease, for you to populate.

Cultural Stereotypes

This excessively is an interesting field of survey in societal scientific disciplines. However, the word 'Ethnicity ' is a reasonably new word. It was foremost used by David Riesman in 1953, and it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary merely in 1972. This term originated from America. Peoples who came to America ( the new universe ) from different parts of the universe retained their separate individualities even after several coevalss. Therefore, the term 'ethnicity ' was used in order to understand these differences.

From a sociological point of position, when a group asserts their separate individuality on bases of assumed or existent cultural

differentiations, this corporate individuality is called 'ethnicity ' and the ensuing group 'an cultural group. ' This signifier of individuality ( ethnicity is normally an ascribed position non an achieved.

Milton Gordon ( 1964 ) referred to ethnicity as a sense of 'people goon ' created by common, race, faith, national beginning, history, or some combination of these ; while Francis ( 1947 ) pointed out that although every cultural group has a typical civilization, a common cultural form does non automatically represent an cultural group.

Taking all the above facts into consideration, an cultural group can be defined as a group of people within a larger society in relation to state or the universe, who portion common cultural norms, faith, and form of reactions, and has a common individuality combined with a sense of belongingness.

The following inquiry to see is what are stereotypes? The Encarta Encyclopedia 2004 defines stereotypes from a sociological position as 'perpetuating a simplistic image of a class of individuals, establishment, or civilization. ' The impression of a stereotype is by and large negative. It is narrowly rooted in bias and irrational fright ; in some instances, it may be rooted in jobs of perceptual experience of what is different. It is typically irrational unless it can be ( seldom ) demonstrated that the original thought was an accurate and wise sum-up of old experience.

As a consequence, Jews, adult females, inkinesss, homophiles, aliens, immigrants, and minorities in general have been and are subjected to negative stereotyping, which frequently takes the signifier of ridicule, and in effect to countenances even to the point of slaying and race murder. Lay waste toing illustrations of successful stereotyping and racism are found in the European fascist motions of the inter-war old ages, and the post-war struggle over segregation in South Africa. Stereotypes besides extend to thoughts of a individual 's category, business, speech pattern of beginning, and many other distinguishing factors. Stereotyped images of people have been, and are still been perpetuated in books and many other cultural signifiers. Some of these have been highly rough as in types of racialist propaganda, though sometimes these may besides be expressed for the interest of amusement.

A.H. Halsey concludes an essay on stereotypes as follows: Pigeonholing has deep roots in the human head ; it may hold originated in the early development of crude folks, fighting for the control of district and for tribal coherence. In the modern universe, nevertheless, such parochialisms are, on balance, a menace to human public assistance. The battle to make a free, democratic, just, and rational society is still the chief political and societal issue of human life-with its look in claims to equality for people irrespective of their beginnings, gender, gender, and any other features that may distinguish them.

Therefore, cultural stereotypes are ( largely ) negative beliefs towards groups of people who portion a common civilization and/or faith with a sense of belongingness to it, by persons or other groups of people, and/or by persons in the group in consideration.

Although, Death and Ethnic Stereotypes have been taken into treatment from assorted positions, non many surveies have focused on the

effects of decease related anxiousness on cultural stereotypes. The Terror Management Theory is one modern theory in psychological science that focuses on this topic.

Terror Management Theory

Terror Management Theory ( TMT ) was introduced by S. Solomon, T. Pyszczynski, and J. Greenberg in the mid 1980s. Cultural biass are one cardinal concern of this theory, which chiefly focus on the beginnings of human personality, and latent and unconscious mechanisms finding human behaviour. Therefore, among the surveies on Death and Death Related Anxiety, TMT, has important relevancy to the present survey.

Harmonizing to Pyszczynski, Greenberg, & A ; Solomon ( 1997 ) , TMT study a diverse array of ways that people go about maintaining their experiential frights at bay. For illustration, avoiding ideas of one 's decease has been linked with bias ( e.g. , Greenberg et al. , 1990 ; McGregor, Zanna, Holmes, & A ; Spencer, 2001 ) , care of cultural norms ( Rosenblatt, Greenberg, Solomon, Pyszczynski, & A ; Lyon, 1989 ) , self- esteem care ( Greenberg et al. , 1992b ; Harmon- Jones et al. , 1997 ) , protection of cultural icons ( Greenberg, Porteus, Simon, Pyszczynski, & A ; Solomon, 1995 ) , optimum peculiarity theory ( Simon, Greenberg, Arndt, Pyszczynski, Clement, & A ; Solomon, 1997 ) , foolhardy drive ( Taubman Florian, & A ; Mikulincer, 1999 ) , patriotism ( Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Simon, & A ; Breus, 1994 ; Nelson, Moore, Olivetti, & A ; Scott, 1997 ) , nonsubjective self- consciousness ( Arndt, Greenberg, Simon, Pyszczynski, & A ; Solomon, 1998 ) , the false consensus consequence ( Pyszczynski et al. , 1996 ) , a desire for high position merchandises ( Mandel & A ; Heine, 1999 ) , sexual neuroticisms ( Goldenberg, Pyszczynski, McCoy & A ; Greenberg, 1999 ) , and aggression ( McGregor et al. , 1998 ) , to call several. As decease is inevitable in concern of life worlds ( as it is to other living existences excessively ) , this theory refering the fright and anxiousness caused by it and human reactions to get the better of it associate TMT to an extraordinary scope of phenomena. Therefore, it would non be an hyperbole to reason that TMT could be viewed as the incorporate theory of self-psychology as its laminitiss claim, though, it is of import to prove its cogency to generalise it to the human sort because most of the experiments on this theory have been done in the western universe.

TMT posits that people deal with the job of decease by using two distinguishable manners of defence:

  • direct
  • symbolic

The first is rational and threat-focused. It functions to cut down the person 's perceptual experience of his or her exposure to life endangering conditions, and therefore force the job of decease into the vague and distant hereafter. The 2nd is a cultural defence or utilizing civilization as a buffer against this anxiousness. This embeds the person as a valuable portion of an ageless construct of world that is bigger, stronger, and more digesting than any single is. These defence mechanisms are manifested in

the signifier of a dual-component:

  • A cultural worldview
  •  Self-Esteem, which is acquired by believing, that one is populating up to the built-in criterions of value in one 's cultural worldview.

Cultural worldviews facilitate effectual panic direction by supplying persons in a group, with a vision of world that supplies replies to cosmopolitan inquiries such as ; who am I '' ;  where did I come from?  what should I make?  what will go on to me when I die? '' . This manner, it gives intending to life, permanency, stableness, and significantly, conveys hope of symbolic immortality. Harmonizing to this theory, every civilization, offer persons with the gift of immortality at least symbolically, as they abide by its criterions. The ways of life over one 's natural life period symbolically, scope from bring forthing great plants and innovations ( e.g. : light bulb by Thomas Edison, Radium by Pierre & A ; Marie Curie ) or accumulating of great lucks that extend beyond an person 's life clip and hence serve as a physical testament to one 's being ( e.g. : Egyptian Pharaoh ) , and/or literally. This is farther accompanied by spiritual beliefs of an hereafter through reincarnation or ageless life with God in Eden.

Self-Esteem is the primary psychological mechanism that an person is provided by the civilization to get the better of the fright and anxiousness associated with ain mortality. But it must be realized that Self-Esteem can function its anxiety-buffering map merely to the extent that faith in the cultural worldview is sustained. Because, it is merely so that it can supply the person with the chance to compare own-self to the remainder of the society and believe "I am better than the other individual. '' Harmonizing to Greenberg, Solomon, & A ; Pyszczynski, 1997, 'The religion in the cultural worldview is maintained through secular and spiritual instructions, associated cultural rites, continual societal proof in interpersonal and inter group contexts, and defensive reactions to those with alternate worldviews ' . This is a batch based on the socialisation procedure. This explains that harmonizing to the research on TMT, the anxiousness of ain mortality has a nexus in organizing positive attitudes towards ain cultural group while negative attitudes are generated toward out-group.

Simon, Greenberg, Harmon- Jones, Solomon, and Pyszczynski ( 1996 ) demonstrated that exposure to mortality saliency leads American college pupils to support a review of American civilization by more smartly minimizing the critic than college pupils for whom decease had non been made salient.

In a status where US college pupils who where Christians were asked about their attitudes towards Jews, they had more positive attitudes towards Jews under ordinary conditions and more negative attitudes when mortality was outstanding. Meanwhile, more positive attitudes were observed toward the in-group when mortality was outstanding than under ordinary status.

In one experiment done be Greenberg et Al. in 1990, 22 municipal Judgess were given a set of psychological trials. In the 11 Judgess in the experimental group were told to compose about their ain decease, including what happens physically and what emotions are evoked when believing about it. When asked to put

bond for a cocotte on the footing of a instance brief, those who had thought about their decease set an mean bond of $ 455, while the norm in the control group was $ 50.

The writers concluded that when consciousness of decease is increased, in-group integrity is intensified, out-groups become more detested, and bias and spiritual extremism escalate. In Japan, when mortality was outstanding, the trial participants tend to support their cultural worldview by minimizing an anti- Japan essay author and to hike their value within their civilizations by bespeaking a greater desire for high position merchandises over low position merchandises.

Irrespective of what worlds truly wish, decease is an recognized happening in all human civilizations. The fright and anxiousness caused by decease excessively is a common facet of members in all civilizations. Therefore, the reactions to it excessively are incorporated to civilizations and accepted, adding another difference among civilizations. The cognitive constructions that lasted in the heads of Sinhalese for over 1000s of old ages against Tamils, as a agency of heightening self-pride were non helpful plenty to get the better of the daze of world made salient by the tsunami tidal moving ridges. What were the reactions of the participants in this state of affairs as mortality was made salient? What do the consequences explicate? The following chapters will assist in happening some of the replies to these inquiries in relation to Sri Lanka 's historical ethno political background.



Data was collected on two occasions with a spread of five months. The experiment was done with two manipulated conditions while doing advantage of the natural environmental fortunes. The first set of information was collected on the last hebdomad of December 2004 after the Tsunami tidal moving ridges hit the costal lands of Sri Lanka and many other parts of Asia, pull stringsing participants ' heads by concentrating attending towards decease with a evaluation inquiry. The 2nd set of information was collected on the 3rd hebdomad of April 2005 after the Sinhala/Hindu New Year jubilations in Sri Lanka, pull stringsing the participants ' heads by concentrating attending towards their favourite nutrient points. Fifty per centum of the participants rated stereotypes of Sinhalese while the other half, rated stereotypes of Tamils.


Participants were 124 Sinhala University pupils ( 61 female, 63 male ) from cardinal Sri Lanka, between the ages of 20 and 27. They participated voluntarily reacting to petitions made by the experimenters. They were assured that their responses would stay anon. and confidential. The experiment was conducted in two separate Sessionss, with 62 participants in each session. The mortality saliency group consisted of 27 males and 35 females. The control group had 31 males and 31 females. All participants in each session received the same stuffs and instructions ; participants who took portion in the session shortly after the tsunami were in the mortality saliency status.


The experimental stuffs were printed in Sinhala. The experimental Sessionss were conducted in Sinhala by a Sinhala experimenter. Because participants were by and large unfamiliar with the sorts of evaluation graduated tables used in the survey, the experimenter gave expressed verbal instructions to attach to written


Mortality Salience: Data aggregation was done on 30 December 2004. This was the 4th twenty-four hours after the tsunami devastation. Therefore, although none of the trial participants had first manus experience of the catastrophe, all had watched, heard, and read about the catastrophe through media. They were cognizant of the loss of lives in the costal countries. Therefore, it was assumed that they were holding ideas about decease in their heads. Since an premise is non plenty to transport out the research, the participants ' heads were brought to mortality saliency with a inquiry that asked to rate as to what they were most concerned at that clip. They had to do a evaluation from one to eight to a list of eight points, taging one in forepart of the point of most concern and eight in forepart of the point with least concern from among the points in the list. All the participants had marked a figure between one  and three  in forepart of the points 'human deceases ' , 'sea.

Control Group: Data aggregation was done on 23 April 2005. This was in the 2nd hebdomad after the Sinhala/Hindu New Year jubilations in Sri Lanka. The participants were asked to name down four of their most favourite nutrient points, which was non a undertaking that made mortality salient, before they rated either Sinhala or Tamils on the 21-stereotype list.

Stereotypes: After finishing, the evaluation for the points bespeaking concern in the mortality saliency status, or after calling the favourite nutrient points in the controlled status the 2nd evaluation graduated table was presented. Participants were given a list of 21 personal features, and were asked to bespeak the extent to which each feature was a portion of the cultural stereotype of a specific cultural group by giving a evaluation from one to ten. Number one in the graduated table indicated strong dissension and ten indicated strong understanding. One-half of the participants were asked to rate the stereotypes of Sinhala and the other half of the participants were asked to rate the stereotypes of Tamils. This choice as to who rate which cultural group was done indiscriminately. Regardless of which cultural group each one was evaluation, the instructions made clear that participants were non to bespeak their ain personal feelings of the cultural group, but instead were to bespeak their perceptual experiences of predominating society-wide stereotypes of that cultural group.

Among the 21 features were seven bespeaking malignity ( Cunning, Hostile, Inhuman, Terrorist or protagonists of terrorist act, Aggressive, Angry, Peace lovers ; evaluations on the last point were reverse-scored ) . Three extra features indicated bureau or ability ( Fights for ain rights, NaA?ve, Helpless ; evaluations on the latter two points were reverse-scored ) . These two dimensions are cardinal to many stereotypes, and are relevant to bury group struggle state of affairss.

To analyse the information, Mean was calculated for the two major classs individually, on which, t-tests were used to look into significance. However, the reading and treatment is further enriched with qualitative method of analysis with mention to historical and cultural positions for better apprehension of significances of the

statistical results in relation to Sri Lankan context.


Among the 21 stereotypes, two chief dimensions are identified as traits bespeaking malignity and bureau or ability[ 42 ]. Among the two dimension of stereotypes for the two cultural groups ( Tamil and Sinhalese ) , the first two rows of table 4.1 indicate the complex indices showing the extent to which malignity and bureau were perceived to be portion of the Tamil stereotype. The 3rd and 4th rows in table 4.1 indicate the complex indices showing the extent to which malignity and bureau was perceived to be portion of the Sinhala stereotype.

Among the evaluations for Tamils, merely data bespeaking the difference in the perceptual experience of malignity as a portion of the stereotype in the mortality saliency status and controlled status is important  . When mortality was saliency shortly after the tsunami, the participants perceived Tamils as less malevolent ( average 4.87, standard divergence 0.92 ) . In the controlled status, which was after four months from the tsunami, participants perceived malignity to be more cardinal to Tamils ( average 5.72, standard divergence 0.45 ) . The difference in sing Tamils as agentic in the two conditions is non statistically important

Looking at the effects of the mortality saliency and non-mortality saliency conditions on clique ( Sinhala ) evaluations, the consequences reveal that conditions influenced bureau ratings . When mortality was outstanding, clique was scored less agentic ( average 5.59, standard divergence 0.78 ) than the controlled status, which was rated as more agentic ( average 6.35, standard divergence 0.67 ) . Data indicate that the two conditions had no consequence on sing Sinhala as malevolent.

In add-on to these cardinal analyses, subsidiary scrutinies revealed a few effects of the mortality outstanding status on other stereotype evaluations. Four points were statistically important . Among the participants who rated Tamil stereotypes, those in the Food mentioning status, gave higher evaluations to points selfish  , and greed for money. For the point hapless, participants in the mortality salient group gave a higher evaluation . Among the participants who rated Sinhalese, those in the mortality salient group gave a higher evaluation for spiritual, which is a extremely valued trait in Sri Lanka.


The present survey does non needfully back up the bing cognition of the effects of mortality saliency at a surface degree. Despite the restrictions mentioned in chapter 1, the consequences obtained in this paper are worthwhile taking into consideration as they broaden the range of psychological research. It is of import to observe that the purpose of psychological research is to non merely support or discuss on the bing subjects in the field of research. But to spread out the application of theory to countries of survey which are fresh, in order to understand human behaviour forms under assorted fortunes and contribute to the undertaking of doing the universe a better topographic point to populate. This should be the ultimate end of scientific discipline, no affair what of all time the field of research may be.

Among the survey consequences, in the mortality saliency status, Sinhala participants rated Tamils to be less malevolent compared to the

evaluation they gave in the controlled status. That is, participants perceived Tamils as less hostile, less cunning, less cold, less aggressive, less angry, non protagonists of terrorist act, and more peace loving in the mortality outstanding status instead than in the non mortality outstanding status. This perceptual experience of the out-group is non back uping the bing cognition on out-group perceptual experiences when mortality is outstanding. Tom Pyszczynski, one of the laminitiss of TMT provinces, reminders of one 's mortality addition bias, pigeonholing and physical aggression toward members of groups different from 1s ain.

]Apart from that, the participants rated Tamils as less selfish, less greedy for money and poorer in the mortality salient status compared to the control group. Is this the consequence of a liminal province of head? It is deserving inquiring this inquiry as mortality was salient in the topics ' head as a consequence of a natural catastrophe ( tsunami ) . They experienced it ( instead than watched it ) recognizing the incapacitated nature of human existences in presence of natural powers. Therefore, it was no longer a conflict against another group of worlds, but a conflict for endurance with nature. They watched the land ( one of the chief issuers in the cultural struggle is about spliting the land ) , and belongings being washed off into the sea.

All what victims in the costal countries could make was to trust on another human being, irrespective of group differences as ethnicity or faith or dramatis personae for that affair. It is interesting to observe that the consequence of the tsunami catastrophe is different from effects of the 11-09-2001 Muslim terrorist onslaught on the USA. 9/11 incident excessively made mortality salient. It this state of affairs there was an enemy from whom Americans had to protect own-self. But in the state of affairs in Sri Lanka, as the enemy was the nature, the two cultural groups joined custodies as a consequence of comprehending the similarities

Apart from that, there is another facet, which is worthwhile to take into history. That is the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the participants. The chief faith in the state is based on Buddhists doctrine. Impermanence or anicca as it is said in Pali is one of its primary instructions. Harmonizing this, nil in this universe is lasting. All things are subjected to alter and disintegrate. Be this learning working in the heads of the participants as mortality was salient? It is impossible to reply this inquiry because it was non subjected to prove by any agencies. However, the evaluations given for Sinhalese ( the clique ) might give some penetration.

Among the evaluations for the Sinhalese, there was no important difference with respect to malevolence every bit mentioned in the 4th chapter. But, sing the group of points to mensurate bureau or capableness, participants rated ain group as less in bureau in the mortality outstanding status, compared to the evaluations of the control group. However, there was another important point - 'religiousness ' . This is a extremely valued trait in Sri Lanka. Harmonizing to research lab surveies, ( e.g. Hewstone, Rubin,

& A ; Willis, 2002 ) there is much grounds for clique sweetening than out-group disparagement.

Supporting this fact, the evaluation given for the religionism point was significantly higher in the mortality outstanding status. This implies that the participants perceived the ain group as more spiritual when mortality was outstanding. This is explained in TMT ; people use faith, which is a merchandise of civilization as a buffer against decease related anxiousness. Buddhism preaches of reincarnation. Therefore, they get a opportunity to believe of a better birth ( this reduces the anxiousness of being undistinguished ) after decease as they are spiritual and hence good ( My premise is on what might be the 'logic ' behind their ideas ) .

This gives some account to the above incompatibility with the Terror Management Theory. As the participants were watching the people of their state deceasing impotently as victims of the tsunami tidal moving ridges, their was no cognitive infinite for a conflict win with the LTTE or Tamils, as the human race was seen helpless and subjected to impermanence. Therefore, the other agencies of safety can be seen in faith, which allow secondary control to get the better of decease related anxiousness. Buddhism is a faith that speaks of love and compassion ( maithree ) to all living existences. There is small room to believe that a complex set of cognitive maps took topographic point in recognizing that it is contradictory to hold negative stereotypes against Tamils and to be spiritual at the same clip. But it seems more acceptable to give recognition to the unconscious procedure in the head for seeing this contradiction in being spiritual piece at the same clip believing and comprehending Tamils as a group of persons who are malevolent. Or else this can besides be viewed as the willingness to fall in custodies with the Tamils who are 'humans ' , therefore, holding many similarities as a group of people in the conflict for endurance against nature 's onslaught.


When looking at the full consequences, another fact that is interesting is the consequence of the liminal province of head shortly after the tsunami. Peoples were unsure of where to travel or what is traveling to go on to the state and the people including ain ego ( e.g.  will at that place be another tsunami?  will all the people, including my loved 1s and my ego be killed sooner than I expect? '' etcaˆ¦ ) . As this province easy passed off ( as information was collected in abut four months after the tsunami catastrophe ) , the culturally manifested negative attitudes towards Tamils had re-emerged. They started believing of ain group as more agentic and the devoutness was given a relatively low evaluation. This can be explained as follows. Sing ain group as more agentic leads to cut down decease related anxiousness as it leads to increase self respect because ain ego is perceived as a member of a strong group as it helps the person to enjoy in reflected glorification.

Sing ain ego as more spiritual excessively serves the same map by seting the person on easiness,

as 'I am a better homo ( or my group ) . Therefore, I will hold a better being even if I die. As the ideas of power and bureau become predominant, it re-establishes the baseline of comfort. Besides, when the event that disrupted the comfort ( the tsunami ) excessively is no longer at that place, people go back to the easier manner of experiencing good of ain ego ( comprehending ain group as more agentic ) over perceiving and behaving as more spiritual, which is relatively non really easy. This clearly imply that accidents that take the head to a liminal province do non ever make permanent effects on human ideas ; particularly when strongly built cultural attitudes against an out group are challenged by the new ideas and when the ground ( the helpless feelings after the tsunami in this instance ) for the alteration of attitudes are no longer strong.

These consequences besides lay visible radiation on the strength of the cultural structuring of cultural stereotyping. It is apparent as the negative stereotypes towards Tamils are higher as the psychological effects of the accident ( tsunami catastrophe ) weaken over clip. This type of an account or puting visible radiation on dimensions is non really much welcomed in the field of psychological research. Schaller 2002, states against this, 'if we limit our theoretical skylines to merely those concepts necessary to explicate the bing psychological database, so we limit our ability to turn to more ambitious inquiries about human nature and its beginnings. We besides limit our entree to conceptual tools that can take us to new empirical finds. These kinds of accounts in the visible radiation of psychological theories from a socio, cultural and economic position are of import as head maps are responses to the societal state of affairss. Individual psychological science can non be ignorant of the socio-cultural background of the person.

Decisions and Recommendations

All research findings that contribute to the apprehension of human behaviour are of import. This is particularly true when it opens up new countries of survey and announce the manner to future research. This survey supports the position of the Terror Management Theory, which is, persons protect own-self against the anxiousness caused by the ideas on decease by promoting self-pride.

Another really much of import deduction of this survey is the solidness or the non easy altering quality of culturally structured attitudes ( though they may alter for a short period of clip ) due to accidents or sudden happenings, even though, the alteration may look to be for the improvement of the group, and the full world.

However, the findings of this survey need non be framed pessimistically when using this cognition in the field of conflict declaration and peace devising. Talking in relation to Sri Lanka, merely as the negative attitudes toward Tamils are culturally structured in the heads of Sinhalese, the spiritual values excessively are deep rooted. The consequences show that they use it for promoting self-pride in order to get the better of decease related anxiousness. Thus, alteration of attitudes can mostly be focused through agencies of supplying ways to

hike self esteem with positive ideas on ain group, instead than to contend decease related anxiousness with the usage of negative attitudes and stereotypes loaded on out groups

Although this survey presents some interesting deductions, to generalise the findings at least in the Sri Lankan context, farther research works to back up the findings of this survey are really of import. This survey is chiefly aimed at presenting Terror Management Theory to the field of psychological surveies on cultural stereotypes in Sri Lanka, which excessively is yet to develop. Furthermore, it examines the effects of liminal provinces of head in altering culturally structured behaviour forms.

Therefore, as I presume as a concluding twelvemonth psychological science pupil, this survey would derive cogency in the field of applied psychological science, and do a important part to humankind, merely if, more research work is done in this line of surveies. That is to understand the causes of human behaviours, so that, they could be used in conflict declaration and peace devising locally and internationally.

As I am reasoning this study, an event foregrounding the culturally and historically structured anti-Tamil stereotypes in the heads of Sinhalese is on advancement. The president of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Chandrika Kumarathunge tried her degree best to administer the AIDSs received to develop the state after the tsunami devastation, among the Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims. But, since the 2nd hebdomad of June 2005, utmost Sinhala groups protested ( it is on advancement to day of the month - 11.06.2005 ) vehemently against Joint Mechanisms ( which could besides be a supporter to the peace procedure ) proposed by the president