BSC member Simon McCabe explores the role of mortality concerns.
This research examines how death reminders impact the valuation of objects of various ages. Building from the existence bias, the longer-is-better effect posits that which exists is good and that which has existed for longer is better. Integrating terror management theory, it was reasoned that mortality reminders fostering a motivation to at least symbolically transcend death would lead participants to evaluate older object more positively as they signal robustness of existence. Participants were reminded of death (vs. control) and evaluated new, 20-, or 100-year-old objects. Results indicated death reminders resulted in greater valuation of older objects. Findings are discussed with implications for terror management theory, the longer-is-better effect, ageism, materialism, and consumer behaviour.