Joseph Hayes, Associate Professor

Email address:

Telephone: (902) 585-1418

Office location: Horton Hall 304

Lab location: Horton Hall 409/418/420

Classes recently taught: Personality, Research Design & Statistics 1 (graduate level), Advanced Research Methods, Advanced Seminar in Tests and Measurements


B.A. (Honours), Saint Francis Xavier University

M.A., University of Alberta

Ph.D., University of Alberta


Dr. Hayes is a social-personality researcher, who examines how people respond to threat. His research program takes a three-pronged approach to understanding this topic:

1) Types of threat: His primary interest is in how people cope with the awareness of death, but he is also interested in other types of threat (e.g., failure, uncertainty, uncontrollability, meaninglessness, separation). Why are these circumstances threatening, and how do people react?
2) Emotional Reactions: What types of emotions are aroused by threat, and why? He is particularly interested in anxiety and depression, and the motivational dynamics that produce each of these negative emotions.
3) Defensive Responses: How do people attempt to reduce negative emotions aroused by threat? What are the consequences (psychological, social, societal) of engaging various types of defense. His most current research seeks to examine passivity and withdrawal-oriented reactions to threat (e.g., giving up following failure). He is also interested in how withdrawal may lead to suicide or a suicidal confrontation with the source of threat (e.g., lone-wolf terrorism, suicide bombing).


Hayes, J. & Schimel, J. (2018). Unintended effects of measuring implicit processes: The case of death-thought accessibility in mortality salience studies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 74, 257-269.

Hayes, J. & Hubley, C. (2017). Between a rock and a hard place: When affirming life reduces depression, but increases anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 36, 860-882.

Hayes, J. (2016). Praising the dead: On the motivational tendency and psychological function of eulogizing the deceased. Motivation and Emotion, 40, 375-388.

Hayes, J., Ward, C., & McGregor, I. (2016). Why bother? Death, failure, and fatalistic withdrawal from life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 96-115.

Hayes, J., Schimel, J., Williams, T. J., Howard, A. L., Webber, D., & Faucher, E. H. (2015). Worldview accommodation: Selectively modifying committed beliefs provides defense against threat. Self and Identity, 14, 521-548.

Hayes, J., Schimel, J., Arndt, J., & Faucher, E. H. (2010). A theoretical and empirical review of the death-thought accessibility concept in terror management research. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 699-739.

Hayes, J., Schimel, J., & Williams, T. J. (2008). Fighting death with death: The buffering effects of learning that worldview violators have died. Psychological Science, 19, 501-507.


Honours Students

Rafferty, Marcus (2019). Addictive Worldviews: A terror management perspective on cannabis culture.

Hubley, Candice (2018). You live and you learn: When fostering a learning perspective reduces depression.

Damecour, Eric (2018). Incivility, burnout, and depression: The protective effects of reactive approach motivation.

Quayle, Taylor (2018). We’re all going to die anyway: Uncovering motives for suicide ideation using a goal regulation perspective on living.

Harvey, Mary (2017). Worldview rejection: Exploring conditions under which people will reject their worldview.

Graduate Students

Newcombe, Breagh (2018). Mindfulness in the face of death.