2015 Div. 36 Student Research Award Winners' Proposals

Conceptions of death and emotional arousal among the religiously nonaffiliated

This study will examine if differences in conceptions of death relate to emotional arousal for people with different levels of adherence to religious traditions.

By Anondah Saide

The promotion of beliefs, and the creation of rituals surrounding death, date back to the earliest forms of human societies, and hold strong emotional and practical significance to humans. This study will examine if differences in conceptions of death relate to emotional arousal for people with different levels of adherence to religious traditions. This study will examine how three types of religiously nonaffiliated undergraduate students and their practicing Christian counterparts implicitly and explicitly conceptualize death and the afterlife. In addition, the degree to which the four groups are sensitive to cues from conspecifics in conceptions of death will be examined. In other words, another driving question surrounds how consistent the groups are in their explicit conceptions of death and the afterlife, when primed with the views of one of two perceived authority figures — religious (i.e. priest) and secular (i.e. medical doctor).

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