Mortality Salience and Namesaking: Does Thinking about Death Make People Want to Name Their Children After Themselves?

Publication Date

January 2011


The Journal of Research in Personality is published by Elsevier,


According to terror management theory, people cope with the awareness of death by investing in practices that lead to symbolic immortality. The purpose of the present research was to investigate whether naming children after oneself stems from a desire to symbolically extend one’s life. Participants were primed with thoughts of death or a control topic and then asked the likelihood that they would name future offspring after themselves or relatives. Results showed that people in the mortality salience condition reported a greater likelihood of naming their children after themselves, but not after relatives. Attachment orientation moderated this effect in that anxious individuals in the mortality salience condition expressed an even greater desire to name their children after themselves.


Psychology | Social Psychology