Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
Head of the PrejudiceLab; Reader, Goldsmith, University of London, United Kingdom; University Professor, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poznań, Poland; Visiting Professor, ISCTE-CIS, Lisbon, Portugal
Summary of research
Collective narcissism, prejudice, extremism and populism
Psychology of intergroup conflict and political violence
Embodiment of prejudice
Self-transcendent emotions, mindfulness, yoga
In my research I have developed a specialized research agenda driven by a question: What makes people prejudiced and what makes them fight in conflicts? I have researched the concept of collective narcissism – resentment for the in-group’s unrecognized greatness – that predicts retaliatory intergroup hostility, prejudice, revengefulness and unforgiveness, political radicalisation and belief in conspiracy theories. In my recent research I have examined how collective narcissists react to intergroup exclusion and how collective narcissism is related to personal self-esteem. My lab have also been testing the effects of self-transcendent emotions on the link between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility. We have used methods of neuroscience and physiology to assess the mechanisms underlying this effect.
I also examined how prejudice towards essentialized out-groups is embodied. In particular, I looked at effects of smell on prejudice and the link between physical contacts with out-group members and a need for physical cleansing. I also examined the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of political beliefs related to intergroup conflict and prejudice (e.g. political conservatism, nationalism and patriotism, religious orientations). I examined how such ideological orientations interact with the complexity of political reasoning; motivated closed-mindedness (e.g. need for cognitive closure), and death anxiety in inspiring intergroup hostility.