Death Priming & Supernatural Beliefs

Religion Cognition and Behavior Lab

University of Amsterdam

Unpublished Results















Following a terror-management approach, in a study at the University of Amsterdam we used a mortality salience manipulation to investigate effects of death priming on belief in supernatural agents. One group of participants first completed the afterlife belief scale, followed by questions about their religiosity and supernatural beliefs (experimental condition). Another group of participants first completed the questionnaires in the reversed order (control condition). It was found that participants in the experimental condition actually reported less belief in supernatural agents compared to the control condition (this effect was small but significant).This finding could indicate that a mortality-salience manipulation can boost world-view defense mechanisms, as the majority of our participants were atheist. We aim to replicate the effect to obtain further insight in the underlying mechanisms in a follow-up study


The data of this study is available upon request.