windows into nothingness: Terror Management, Meaninglessness, and Negative /reactions to Modern Art

I hae not posted here for ages becasue Ihave been busy developing a tutoring project and another blog:


but this article feel v interesting to me.

I cam across terro management theory  and it feels as if it will explain a lot abou the way I feel  the theory purports to explain much of human behaviour including irrational teleigious belief and  bonding together in social groups and exlcuding others as not of the one social group.  It seems that social groups and group beliegfs fend off the terror that ariss from the knowledge that we will all die.

I think that it is worth while understanding this theory so I will go some way to take notes from this article


879 to 890


okay theu did four studies that tried to establish the reactions of peopleto art that did not have ameaning

the people characteristics looked at were – their level of mortality salience and the need for personal structure

they were looking to see if these two traits : mortality salience and need for personal structure has any effect on dislike of modern art


people dislike art they consider meaningless

art cognoscenti can often derive meaning from their prior knowledge

but naive observers rely on the representational and expressive content

modern abtract art is unique in its explicit abandonment of any repreenttion aintentions


eg Kandinsky


Ortega y Gasset and C Greenberg sais that ‘modern art alientates the average person by defying prepackaged meaning and rerquiring special sensibilities to decode, without whch the naive viewer is ‘lost in a chaos of sounds and rhtythms colours and lines without rhyme or reason (Boudieu 1984 p 2



empirical stufes of art appreciateion says meaningless ness detracts from aesthetic enjoyment


content is more important that sensory properties of the artwork


as content becomes impoverished then abaluation becoes less favourable.


the writers pose the question ‘what undrlies this aversion to perceived meaninglessness and posit that TMT gives an answer.



TMT nonspcific structure and PNS



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