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Terror salience and punishment: Does terror salience induce threat to social order?
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 18:13 authored by Peter Fischer, Tobias Greitemeyer, Andreas Kastenmüller, Dieter Frey, Silvia Oßwald
In recent times, international terrorism has become one of the most serious concerns of the modern Western world. As a consequence, the risk and fear of terrorism is more salient in people’s minds (i.e. terror salience), which is supposed to affect behavioral responses in our society. The present research suggests that increased punishment of violations of criminal laws is one societal reaction to increased terror salience. It was consistently shown that increased terror salience, induced by either varying the temporal distance from the London terrorist attacks of July 7, 2005 (Study 1), by vignettes in the form of newspaper articles manipulating the expected terror risk (Study 2), or by pictures of recent terrorist attacks (Studies 3 and 4), significantly increased the punishment assigned to a violation of criminal laws that was completely unrelated to terror (i.e. car theft and rape). Finally, Study 4 revealed that (a) the effect of terror salience on punishment is indeed due to increased perception of threat to social order and (b) that this effect cannot be explained by the general negative nature of the stimulus material employed in this study.
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
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- Psychology Publications
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