Embodied Terror Management via Teddy Bears (Sin)

Teddy bears are a key element in this study about Embodied Terror Management and self-esteem:

Foto S. Koole_tcm108-236800Embodied Terror Management: Interpersonal Touch Alleviates Existential Concerns Among Individuals With Low Self-Esteem,” Sander L. Koole [pictured here], Mandy Tjew A Sin, Iris K. Schneider, Psychological Science, epub November 3, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at VU University Amsterdam, explain:

“Individuals with low (rather than high) self-esteem often struggle with existential concerns. In the present research, we examined whether these existential concerns may be alleviated by seemingly trivial experiences of both real and simulated interpersonal touch…. Reminding individuals with low self-esteem of death increased their desire for touch, as indicated by higher value estimates of a teddy bear, a toy animal that simulates interpersonal touch (Study 3). Finally, holding a teddy bear (vs. a cardboard box) led individuals with low self-esteem to respond to a death reminder with less defensive ethnocentrism (Study 4).”

Detail from the study:

teddy-bear-graph

 

BONUS (possibly unrelated): The Magnificent 7 perform “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”: