Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




A diverse array of empirical research posits a general tendency for people to prefer the status quo over change, all else being equal. In two experiments, we explore the status quo preference phenomenon from a motivated cognition, uncertainty management perspective. Extending the precepts of several related empirical traditions (e.g. terror management theory, system justification theory and related topics), we explore the premise that uncertainty management processes activate social cognitive mechanisms directly favoring the status quo, similar to previously established process mechanisms such as terror management. Across two studies, we find support for the idea that both uncertainty and mortality salience

magnify peoples’ pre-existing ideological preferences.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.