Humans avoid thinking about death. Death is man’s biggest fear. Paradoxically, they are drawn to movies that feature death and tragedy. This proposal examines if humans use tragic entertainment to temporarily escape their fear of death or to accept and rise above it. Art can be a safe space to explore and change how you think about death.
The research will increase understanding of terror management processes, by introducing a research paradigm that makes use of recent methodological developments in the media psychology domain. This so-called TMT-story processing paradigm will assess how a fear of death affects narrative processing of eudaimonic entertainment, and how these narrative processes, in turn, affect cultural worldview defense and the suppression or transcendence of death thoughts.