Social Justice Research

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 117–139

Terrorism Salience increases System Justification: Experimental Evidence


DOI: 10.1007/s11211-007-0035-y

Cite this article as:
Ullrich, J. & Cohrs, J.C. Soc Just Res (2007) 20: 117. doi:10.1007/s11211-007-0035-y


The issue of international terrorism has figured frequently in recent political debates and media coverage. In the present paper, we explore the question of how the salience of the concept of international terrorism affects the system-justifying tendencies of public opinion. On the basis of Terror Management Theory and System Justification Theory it was hypothesized that terrorism salience would lead to increased system justification. Four experiments with student and non-student adult samples support the hypothesis, yielding a medium-sized average effect of d = 0.47. Across variations in the intensity of focal death-related thoughts, the effect was not subject to boundary conditions typical of mortality salience effects. Social and political psychological implications are discussed.


terrorism system justification terror management ideology 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyJ.W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurt/MainGermany
  2. 2.Friedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany

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