Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Douglas A. Gentile
The personal feelings experienced while engaging with a fictional narrative were examined for their potential terror management function. In particular, the aesthetic experience of self-modifying feelings, which allow for the recognition of shared experiences between characters, humankind, and oneself, were hypothesized to serve as a way of bolstering one's cultural worldview and alleviating death anxiety. Study 1 did not support the hypothesis that self-modifying feelings were more likely to occur after mortality salience. Study 2 and subsequent exploratory analyses did identify self-modifying feelings as related to death thought accessibility after watching a television episode; however, this was in the opposite direction as expected. Additional types of feelings and personality traits are also considered for their function of narratives.
Maier, Julia, "Coping with fiction: Aesthetic experiences with stories as a form of terror management" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10088.