1st Edition

The Psychology of Insecurity Seeking Certainty Where None Can Be Found

Edited By Joseph P. Forgas, William D. Crano, Klaus Fiedler Copyright 2023
    410 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    410 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Insecurity is an inevitable part of being human. Although life is insecure for every organism, humans alone are burdened by knowing that this is so. This ground-breaking volume features contributions by leading international researchers exploring the social psychology of insecurity and how existential, metaphysical, and social uncertainty influence human social behaviour.

    Chapters in the book investigate the psychological origins of insecurity, evolutionary theorizing about the functions of insecurity, the motivational strategies people adopt to manage insecurity, self-regulation strategies, the role of insecurity in the formation and maintenance of social relationships, and the influence of insecurity and uncertainty on the organization of larger social systems and public affairs. The chapters also discuss how insecurity influences many areas of contemporary social life, highlighting the applied implications of this line of research. Topics covered include the role of insecurity in social communication, social judgments, decision-making, group identification, morality, interpersonal behaviour, relationships, attitudes, and many applied aspects of social life and politics where understanding the psychology of insecurity is of critical importance.

    This accessible and engaging book will be of interest to students, researchers, and practitioners as a textbook or reference book in behavioural and social science fields, as well as to a broad spectrum of intelligent lay audiences seeking to understand one of the most intriguing issues that shapes human social life.

    Part 1: The Nature and Sources of Insecurity

    1. Understanding the Psychology of Insecurity: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Cultural Perspectives
    Joseph P. Forgas (University of New South Wales, Sydney)

    2. The Evolution of Insecurity
    William von Hippel and John Merakovsky (University of Queensland, Australia)

    3. The Interactive Role of Death, Uncertainty, and the Loss of Shared Reality on Societal and Individual Insecurity
    Tom Pyszczynsky and Jonathan Sundby (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs)

    4. The Uncertainty Challenge: Escape It, Embrace It
    Arie W. Kruglanski and Molly Ellenberg (University of Maryland) 

    5. Insecurity can be Beneficial: Reflections on Adaptive Strategies for Diverse Trade-off Settings
    Klaus Fiedler and Linda McCaughey (University of Heidelberg, Germany)

    Part II: Managing Individual Insecurity

    6. The Arc of Dissonance: From Drive to Uncertainty
    Joel Cooper and Logan Pearce (Princeton University)

    7. Persuasion as a Sop to Insecurity
    William D. Crano (Claremont Graduate University) and Zachary Hohman (Texas Tech University)

    8. Self-Handicapping in the Face of Uncertainty: The Paradox That Most Certainly Is
    Edward R. Hirt, Samantha L. Heiman (Indiana University-Bloomington, USA), Julie R. Eyink (University of Southern Indiana), and Sean McCrea (University of Wyoming)

    9. Strategy, Trust, and Freedom in an Uncertain World
    Joachim I. Krueger (Brown University) and David J. Grüning (Heidelberg University)

    10. Seeking Moral Meaning in Misfortune – Assigning Blame, Without Regard for Causation
    Alan Page Fiske (UCLA, Department of Anthropology, USA)

    Part III: The Role of Insecurity in Social Relationships

    11. Attachment Security and Coping with Existential Concerns: Studying Security Dynamics in Dyadic, Group, Sociopolitical, and Spiritual/Religious Relationships
    Mario Mikulincer (Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya) and Phillip R. Shaver (University of California, Davis)

    12. Beyond Dyadic Interdependence: Romantic Relationships in an Uncertain Social World
    Sandra L. Murray (University of Buffalo) and Veronica M. Lamarche (University of Essex, UK)

    13. Adult Attachment Insecurity During the COVID Pandemic: Heightened Insecurity and Its Undoing
    Ximena B. Arriaga (Purdue University, USA) and Madoka Kumashiro (Goldsmiths, University of London)

    14. Social Identity Dynamics in the Face of Overwhelming Uncertainty
    Michael A. Hogg (Claremont Graduate University) and Amber M. Gaffney (Humboldt University)

    15. From Individual Insecurity to Collective Security: The Group Survival Motivation
    Gilad Hirschberger (Reichman University, Israel)

    Part IV: The Role of Insecurity and Uncertainty in Politics and Public Life

    16. Trust in Social Institutions: The Role of Informational and Personal Uncertainty
    Kees van den Bos (Utrecht University)

    17. The Politics of Insecurity: How Uncertainty Promotes Populism and Tribalism
    Joseph P. Forgas (University of New South Wales, Sydney)

    18. Uncertainty, Academic Radicalization, and the Erosion of Social Science Credibility
    Lee Jussim, Danica Finkelstein, and Sean T. Stevens (Rutgers University, USA)

    19. Escape From Uncertainty: To Conspiracy Theories and Pseudoscience 
    Péter Krekó (Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary)

    20.  Feelings of Insecurity as Drivers of Anti-Establishment Sentiments
    Jan-Willem van Prooijen (VU Amsterdam, NSCR, and Maastricht University)


    Joseph P. Forgas is a Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales. His research focuses on affective influences on social cognition and behaviour. For his work, he received the Order of Australia and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and he has been elected Fellow of the Australian and Hungarian Academies of Science.

    William D. Crano is Oskamp Professor of Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. He was Liaison Scientist for the US Office of Naval Research, NATO Senior Scientist, and Fulbright Senior Scholar. His research focuses on attitude development and attitude change and their applications.

    Klaus Fiedler is Professor of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg and Fellow of the German Academies of Science, the Association for Psychological Sciences, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. His research focuses on social cognition, language judgements, and decision-making. He received several awards, including the Leibniz Award, and he is on the editorial boards of leading journals.