Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology

Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology

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Social and personality psychologists traditionally have focused their attention on the most basic building blocks of human thought and behavior, while existential psychologists pursued broader, more abstract questions regarding the nature of existence and the meaning of life. This volume bridges this longstanding divide by demonstrating how rigorous experimental methods can be applied to understanding key existential concerns, including death, uncertainty, identity, meaning, morality, isolation, determinism, and freedom. Bringing together leading scholars and investigators, the Handbook presents the influential theories and research findings that collectively are helping to define the emerging field of experimental existential psychology.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 528 pages
  • 175.3 x 254 x 35.6mm | 1,111.31g
  • Guilford Publications
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1593850409
  • 9781593850401
  • 1,370,745

About Jeff Greenberg

Jeff Greenberg is Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona and associate editor of the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology." He received his PhD from the University of Kansas in 1982. Dr. Greenberg has published many articles and chapters, focused primarily on understanding self-esteem, prejudice, and depression. In collaboration with Tom Pyszczynski and Sheldon Solomon, he developed terror management theory, a broad theoretical framework that explores the role of existential fears in diverse aspects of human behavior. He is coauthor of "Hanging on and Letting Go: Understanding the Onset, Progression, and Remission of Depression" and "In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror," and is coeditor of "Motivational Analyses of Social Behavior." Sander L. Koole is Associate Professor of Psychology at the Free University in Amsterdam. He received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Nijmegen in 2000. Dr. Koole has published articles and chapters on self-affirmation, implicit self-esteem, terror management processes, and affect regulation. In collaboration with Julius Kuhl and other colleagues, his recent work has focused on personality systems interactions theory, an integrative perspective that seeks to understand the functional mechanisms that underlie human motivation and personality processes. Together with Constantine Sedekides, he was guest editor of a special issue of "Social Cognition" on "The Art and Science of Self-Defense." Tom Pyszczynski is Professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Kansas in 1980. In collaboration with Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon, Dr. Pyszczynski developed terror management theory. His recent research has focused on applications of terror management theory to questions about the need for self-esteem, prejudice and intergroup conflict, unconscious processes, anxiety, and ambivalence regarding the human body. He is coauthor of "In the Wake of 9/11" and "Hanging on and Letting Go."

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Review quote

"Handbooks are often about the past. They integrate what's known. The Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology is about the future. It creates a new field that speaks to the fundamental question of how human beings confront the reality of their lives. It is original in placing 'experimental' next to 'existential.' Heidegger and Sartre will smile."--Mahzarin R. Banaji, PhD, Department of Psychology, Harvard University "Like many other academics, I was drawn to psychology because I wanted to know more about the fundamental properties of existence--love, death, religion, pain, sex, morality, and the meaning of life. And, like others, I was soon lost in the details of far more circumscribed questions. This handbook reminds me why I love psychology. The authors dare to tackle some of the most basic questions about human existence, using sophisticated scientific methods and theories. The writing is crisp and the topics are bold and exciting. This is the finest edited book that I have seen in many, many years."--James W. Pennebaker, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin "How do ordinary people struggle with profound existential issues such as the certainty of death and the problem of finding meaning in life? Although extraordinarily important, psychologists historically have viewed such questions as too abstract or too difficult to address with the scientific method. In contrast, this volume shows that the marriage of experimental and existential psychology is not only possible, but immensely fruitful. The contributing authors--experts in social and personality psychology--address such core existential issues as people's attempts to manage terror about death, find meaning in life, search for love, and struggle for freedom, all in a scientifically rigorous and theoretically rich way. This handbook is a 'must read' for graduate students in psychology; scholars in sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines; and others concerned with issues of mortality and meaning. Kudos to Greenberg et al. for having the insight and courage to unite existential and experimental psychology."--Lyn Y. Abramson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison "Meaning, free will, and ultimate questions about life and death: such themes lie at the heart of what it means to be human. But is it possible to tap existential struggles without sacrificing methodological rigor? The answer provided by this book is a resounding 'Yes!'. Existential questions, many of which have creatively but quietly shaped the field of social psychology, come into bold relief in this theoretically rich and empirically solid volume. Anyone who fears that social psychology has lost 'the big picture' will find in this book a breath of fresh air and hope."--Julie Juola Exline, PhD, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University "This remarkably wide-ranging and informative collection of essays offers the best refutation yet of the common charge that, the more precise a psychology's research methods, the more trivial its findings are likely to be. Drawing on fundamental themes from clinic-derived existential psychology--authenticity, choice, awareness, meaning, anxiety, temporality, and death, among others--but largely setting aside its abstruse philosophical underpinnings, the authors demonstrate that rigorous empirical methods can take us far in illuminating the complex contours of the human condition. This book gathers together a scattered but surprisingly voluminous and coherent literature, providing a vade mecum for an emerging subject area that we can only hope will gain increasing attention among researchers in psychology and related fields. Psychologists of religion in particular will find it a gold mine, for in it are numerous links to work already underway and a multitude of leads for new research directions."--David M. Wulff, PhD, Department of Psychology, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

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Table of contents

Part 1: Introduction. Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Koole, Experimental Existential Psychology: Exploring the Human Confrontation with Reality. Part 2: Existential Realities. Solomon, Greenberg, Pyszczynski, The Cultural Animal: Twenty Years of Terror Management Theory and Research. Arndt, Cook, Routledge, The Blueprint of Terror Management: Understanding the Cognitive Architecture of Psychological Defense against the Awareness of Death. Florian, Mikulincer, A Multifaceted Model of the Existential Meanings, Manifestations, and Consequences of the Fear of Personal Death. Goldenberg, Roberts, The Beast within the Beauty: An Existential Perspective on the Objectification and Condemnation of Women. Koole, van den Berg, Paradise Lost and Reclaimed: A Motivational Analysis of Human-Nature Relations. Taubman - Ben-Ari, Risk Taking in Adolescence: "To Be or Not to Be" Is Not Really the Question. Janoff-Bulman, Yopyk, Random Outcomes and Valued Commitments: Existential Dilemmas and the Paradox of Meaning. Part 3: Systems of Meaning and Value. Batson, Stocks, Religion: Its Core Psychological Functions. Tangney, Mashek, In Search of the Moral Person: Do You Have to Feel Really Bad to Be Good? Van den Bos, An Existentialist Approach to the Social Psychology of Fairness: The Influence of Mortality and Uncertainty Salience on Reactions to Fair and Unfair Events. McGregor, Zeal, Identity, and Meaning: Going to Extremes to Be One Self. Sedikides, Wildschut, Baden, Nostalgia: Conceptual Issues and Existential Functions. Young, Morris, Existential Meanings and Cultural Models: The Interplay of Personal and Supernatural Agency in American and Hindu Ways of Responding to Uncertainty. Salzman, Halloran, Cultural Trauma and Recovery: Cultural Meaning, Self-Esteem, and the Reconstruction of the Cultural Anxiety Buffer. Dechesne, Kruglanski, Terror's Epistemic Consequences: Existential Threat and the Quest for Certainty and Closure. Jost, Fitzsimons, Kay, The Ideological Animal: A System Justification View. Part 4: The Human Connection. Mikulincer, Florian, Hirschberger, The Terror of Death and the Quest for Love: An Existential Perspective on Close Relationships. Castano, Yzerbyt, Paladino, Transcending Oneself through Social Identification. Haidt, Algoe, Moral Amplification and the Emotions That Attach Us to Saints and Demons. Case, Williams, Ostracism: A Metaphor for Death. Pinel, Long, Landau, Pyszczynski, I-Sharing, the Problem of Existential Isolation, and Their Implications for Interpersonal and Intergroup Phenomena. Wicklund, Vida-Grim, Bellezza in Interpersonal Relations. Part 5: Freedom and the Will. Bargh, Being Here Now: Is Consciousness Necessary for Human Freedom? Vohs, Baumeister, Ego Depletion, Self-Control, and Choice. Kuhl, Koole, Workings of the Will: A Functional Approach. Martin, Campbell, Henry, The Roar of Awakening: Mortality Acknowledgment as a Call to Authentic Living. Ryan, Deci, Autonomy Is No Illusion: Self-Determination Theory and the Empirical Study of Authenticity, Awareness, and Will. Kasser, Sheldon, Non-Becoming, Alienated Becoming, and Authentic Becoming: A Goal-Based Approach. Part 6: Postmortem. Koole, Greenberg, Pyszczynski, The Best of Two Worlds: Experimental Existential Psychology Now and in the Future.

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