Using terror management theory and research findings, we expand the framework provided by Lee and Schwarz to highlight the potential link between separation and connection effects to existential, death-related concerns. Specifically, we address how death awareness may motivate separation and connection behaviors and how engaging in these behaviors may serve a protective terror management function.
Bering's analysis is inadequate because it fails to consider past and present adult soul beliefs and the psychological functions they serve. We suggest that a valid folk psychology of souls must consider features of adult soul beliefs, the unique problem engendered by awareness of death, and terror management findings, in addition to cognitive inclinations toward dualistic and teleological thinking.
Terror management theory and research can rectify shortcomings in Atran & Norenzayan's (A&N's) analysis of religion. (1) Religious and secular worldviews are much more similar than the target article supposes; (2) a propensity for embracing supernatural beliefs is likely to have conferred an adaptive advantage over the course of evolution; and (3) the claim that supernatural agent beliefs serve a terror management function independent of worldview bolstering is not empirically supported.