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In the Wake of 9-11: The Psychology of Terror Hardcover – January 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1557989543 ISBN-10: 1557989540 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 227 pages
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA); 1 edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557989540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557989543
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...beautifully scientific, richly interdisciplinary, and profoundly relevant." -- Lyn Y. Abramson, PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"...perhaps the most important unified body of psychological research in the past two decades." -- Tyler Volk, PhD, New York University

About the Author

Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon, and Jeff Greenberg began doing research together as graduate students at the University of Kansas, where they each received a PhD in psychology in the early 1980s.

Inspired by the work of the Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, they developed Terror Management Theory as a conceptual framework to illuminate the interrelatedness of various forms of human behavior and motivation. The theory integrates ideas from existential psychology, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary theory into a framework that is amenable to rigorous scientific testing. In doing so, their work lays the groundwork for an experimental existential psychology, a new perspective on the human condition influencing current thinking on a wide range of issues within psychology. Their work has yielded a wealth of new insights into diverse aspects of the human condition, including self-esteem striving, prejudice, intergroup conflict, human sexuality, unconscious motives, conformity, aggression, creativity, altruism, and love.

Currently, the three authors are professors of psychology—Dr. Pyszczynski at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Dr. Solomon at Skidmore College, and Dr. Greenberg at the University of Arizona.


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Customer Reviews

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If the reader allows the authors to get away with this smoothly developed tableau, there is very little to complain about here.
Herbert L Calhoun
This book explores our recent experience of terrorism through the lens of psychological research into the impact of "death anxiety" on human attitudes and behaviors.
M. Mowrey
The feeling is that of reading 'lived history' in which the reader is also an intimate actor as well as an interpretive observer.
Daniel Liechty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Liechty on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror (Washington: American Psychological Association, 2002), Tom Pyszcynski, Sheldon Solomon and Jeff Greenberg.
Many have observed that America will never be the same in the wake of the terrorist attacks on US soil on the morning of September 11, 2001. The sudden impact of the explosions, captured in vivid detail and replayed over and over again on television, fundamentally altered the illusion of invulnerability that Americans had enjoyed since World War II. Beginning almost immediately a host of Middle Eastern analysts and academics of all stripes supplied an endless stream of hypotheses concerning "why they hate us" and the general nature of terrorism, all in a well-meaning effort to come to terms with a national tragedy.
But to plumb the depths of terrorism one must look beyond the sound bites, beyond the narrow focus on Middle Eastern politics, beyond popular opinion concerning the supposed differences between Islamic and Judaeo-Christian cultures. This is one of the chief accomplishments of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror. Its authors have succeeded in recasting the psychology of terror against a general theory of human nature. Working in the tradition of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, they trace the roots of terrorism to the troubling yet inescapable reality of human mortality. Becker long ago proposed that there exists at all times a latent fear of death that threatens to upend societal equilibrium. To shield ourselves from the ever-present threat of death anxiety, we seek to bolster our self-esteem through group loyalty. Hence competing worldviews threaten us at a very deep level.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Mowrey on October 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book explores our recent experience of terrorism through the lens of psychological research into the impact of "death anxiety" on human attitudes and behaviors. By the end, we readers have been carried far beyond The Obvious - that death anxiety is aroused by threats to our lives --- and smack into Surprise and Dismay: Surprise, to realize that "death anxiety" is a constant in human nature that is also aroused by perceived threats to anything with which we identify or through which we give meaning to our lives. And Dismay, to realize that death anxiety itself, is a root-cause of human violence. No, that doesn't mean that all of us are physically violent, nor does it mean that psychology alone explains human violence or terrorism. (The authors, true to their multidisciplinary commitments, push the analysis well beyond psychology.) It does mean, however, that we cannot understand or hope to diminish violence without insight into the human factors that contribute to it. The authors paint an accessible but realistically complex picture of the causes and the impact of the events of 9/11, and although they offer no easy answers... their research and analysis give rise to new insights into our human and historical predicament. This is powerful, provocative reading, and while it is often disturbing, it is also peculiarly satisfying because it has the ring of truth. Whether or not you agree with everything the authors say, you will finish this book with new and revealing ways to think about human nature, individual and collective violence, the struggle for meaning, and the demands of and obstacles to freedom and tolerance.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Liechty on September 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Written with a rare combination of wise hesitation and committed passion, this book has so much to commend it is difficult to know where to start. In short summary, this book presents a well-argued 'take' on current political terrorism, as well as public reaction to that terrorism, from the perspective of Terror Management Theory (TMT). TMT is an increasingly important area of social psychology that was originated explicitly as an attempt to subject Ernest Becker's main ideas to empirical testing. The robustness of the theory is now causing many heads to turn that 20 years ago quickly passed over Becker's ideas as 'speculative philosophizing,' unworthy of serious attention from social scientists. One of the great values of this book is that they have taken all of this two decades' worth of research and boiled it down to two concise chapters, in which they both lay out the research results itself in coherent format and discuss its significance in the context of Becker's wider theories and relating it to other current material in the social sciences. In subsequent chapters, as they lay out the psychology of terror, focusing both on the terrorist mentality itself, but even more so on the public reaction to the events of 9/11, the theory genuinely springs to life with cogent illustrations of each point from the very newspaper headlines we have all been recently reading ourselves. The feeling is that of reading 'lived history' in which the reader is also an intimate actor as well as an interpretive observer. This is easily the most riveting interpretive account of these events I have seen in the growing mass of 9/11 literature.
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