Much of what excites me about psychological research is the collaborative process of taking "big" questions about fundamental aspects of the human condition and subjecting them to empirical scrutiny through rigorous experimental methods. Following an existential tradition that draws heavily from such writers as Otto Rank and Ernest Becker, I am particularly fascinated by how our awareness of the transience of existence affects social behaviors, and how the pursuit of meaning and value in one’s life serves to protect the individual from deeply-rooted anxiety.
Utilizing terror management theory as a vehicle, this interest has led me to examine such domains of social psychological inquiry as aggression, unconscious and other cognitive processes, prejudice, stereotypes, creativity, political judgments, self-esteem processes, depression, consumer motivations, legal issues, parental and interpersonal attachment, nostalgia and temporal perceptions, physiological arousal and affect, self-awareness, and cultural identification and disidentification.
Currently, I am perhaps most focused on trying to understand the cognitive architecture that underlies the psychological defenses that people use to protect themselves from both the conscious and unconscious awareness of death, the implications of such an analysis for elucidating health relevant decisions and behaviors, and the dynamic interface between defensively oriented processes of human functioning with what are often considered to be fundamental motives for creativity, growth, and self-enrichment.
- Health Psychology
- Intergroup Relations
- Law and Public Policy
- Motivation, Goal Setting
- Self and Identity
Research Group or Laboratory:
- Existential Motivation Laboratory
- Arndt, J., Greenberg, J., & Cook, A. (2002). Mortality salience and the spreading activation of worldview-relevant constructs: Exploring the cognitive architecture of terror management. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 131, 307-324.
- Arndt, J., Greenberg, J., Pyszczynski, T., & Solomon, S. (1997). Subliminal exposure to death-related stimuli increases defense of the cultural worldview. Psychological Science, 8, 379-385.
- Arndt, J., Greenberg, J., Schimel, J., Pyszczynski, T., & Solomon, S. (2002). To belong or not to belong, that is the question: Terror management and identification with gender and ethnicity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 26-43.
- Arndt, J., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Pyszczynski, T., & Schimel, J. (1999). Creativity and terror management: Evidence that creative activity increases guilt and social projection following mortality salience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 19-32.
- Arndt, J., Lieberman, J. D., Cook, A., & Solomon, S. (2005). Terror management in the courtroom: Exploring the effects of mortality salience on legal decision-making. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 407-438.
- Arndt, J., Routledge, C., & Goldenberg, J. L. (2006). Predicting proximal health responses to reminders of death: The influence of coping style and health optimism. Psychology and Health, 21(5), 593-614.
- Arndt, J., Routledge, C., Greenberg, J., & Sheldon, K. M. (2005). Illuminating the dark side of creative expression: Assimilation needs and the consequences of creative action following mortality salience. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1327-1339.
- Arndt, J., Schimel, J., Greenberg, J., & Pyszczynski, T. (2002). The intrinsic self and defensiveness: Evidence that activating the intrinsic self reduces self-handicapping and conformity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 671-683.
- Arndt, J., Solomon, S., Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2004). The urge to splurge: A terror management account of materialism and consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14, 198-212.
- Routledge, C., Arndt, J., & Goldenberg, J. L. (2004). A time to tan: Proximal and distal effects of mortality salience on sun exposure intentions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1347-1358.
- Schimel, J., Arndt, J., Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (2001). Being accepted for who were are: Evidence that social validation of core self-attributes reduces defensiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 35-52.
- Arndt, J., Cook, A., & Routledge, C. (2004). The blueprint of terror management: Understanding the cognitive architecture of psychological defense against death-related thought. In J. Greenberg, S. L. Koole, & T. Pyszczynski (Eds.), Handbook of Empirical Existential Psychology (pp. 35-53). New York: Guilford.
- Experimental Methods in Social Psychology
- Social Psychology
- The Self
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri 65211
- Phone: (573) 884-4678
- Fax: (573) 882-7710