Cultural cognition : the epistemic function of worldviews
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Cultural worldviews -- shared, symbolic systems of meaning that render life interpretable -- provide a great deal of knowledge about the world. Thus, the validity of one's worldview may affect the need to think. The present study (n = 431) used a 2(mortality salience vs. control) x 3(worldview threat vs. worldview affirmation vs. control) design to examine the tendency to engage in critical thinking from a terror management perspective. It specifically addressed whether, when reminded of mortality or not, threatening and affirming cultural worldviews would affect need for cognition. The result provided partial support for the hypotheses. In contrast to predictions, when death was made salient, whether one's worldview was affirmed or threatened had no effect on need for cognition. Conversely, when death was not made salient, a worldview threat led to higher need for cognition than both a worldview affirmation and neutral stimuli. Though limited, the present study contributes to our knowledge on the epistemic function of worldviews.
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