Agnieszka Golec de Zavala

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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

Research interests

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.

Latest posts

Read my latest posts!

Longitudinal data show how liberal voters became allienated during the pandemic in Poland

On how the liberal electorate got alienated during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland.

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Sexism in times of pandemic

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, another tendency seems to spread like contagion—populist leaders mobilising to use the existing emergency to

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On how national collective narcissism features in right-wing populism

The present wave of populism has reorganized the political map of the world. Populist parties have become significant political players in many Wester

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Dr Golec de Zavala at Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) annual conference in Toronto

I will give a talk Collective narcissism: Political consequences of investing self-esteem in the in-group image during annual conference of Society fo

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Low self-esteem predicts outgroup derogation indirectly via collective narcissism

In a recent paper we revisited the proposition that low self-esteem motivates group members to derogate out-groups. Several theoretical accounts pred

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