@sciencenow (via @jchyip) claims that Fear of Death Makes People Into Believers (of Science) (June 2013)
The article reports on a British experiment in which researchers invited subjects EITHER to contemplate their own death OR to contemplate dental pain. But contemplating death is not the same as fear of death. As I have pointed out on this blog before (a) the contemplation of one's own death is a standard meditative practice, and (b) contemplating dental pain is probably a lot more realistic and unpleasant than contemplating one's death.
So why do researchers persist in constructing a dubious comparison between death and dental pain?
Mortality salience and the spreading activation of worldview-relevant constructs: exploring the cognitive architecture of terror management
J Exp Psychol Gen. 2002 Sep;131(3):307-24
From terror to joy: automatic tuning to positive affective information following mortality salience
Psychol Sci. 2007 Nov;18(11):984-90
Sex and Death (October 2011)
Wikipedia: Mortality Salience