logo en full

BIO Agnieszka Golec de Zavala


Agnieszka Golec de Zavala

Ph.D. / Associate Professor


Faculty of Psychology and Law in Poznań
Department of Social and Cross-cultural Psychology


Professor Agnieszka Golec de Zavala is a psychologist. Her professional interests include collective narcissism, prejudice, extremism and populism, psychology of intergroup conflict and political violence, embodiment of prejudice, self-transcendent emotions, mindfulness, and yoga.

She has developed a specialized research agenda driven by a question: What makes people prejudiced and what makes them fight in conflicts? She has researched the concept of collective narcissism – resentment for the in-group’s unrecognized greatness – that predicts retaliatory intergroup hostility, prejudice, revengefulness and unforgiveness, political radicalization and belief in conspiracy theories. Her latest research examines how collective narcissists react to intergroup exclusion and how collective narcissism is related to personal self-esteem. In her lab, she has been testing the effects of self-transcendent emotions on the link between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility. Her research team has been using methods of neuroscience and physiology to assess the mechanisms underlying this effect.

She also examines how prejudice towards essentialized out-groups is embodied. In particular, she looked at effects of smell on prejudice and the link between physical contacts with out-group members and a need for physical cleansing. Furthermore, she examined the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of political beliefs related to intergroup conflict and prejudice (e.g. political conservatism, nationalism and patriotism, religious orientations). She researched 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.

Research conducted by Professor Golec de Zavala has been frequently cited in scientific journals and popular science magazines, for example in the November issue of The Atlantic, in an article by Barry Kaufman “What Collective Narcissism Does to Society”.

Professor Golec de Zavala is the Head of PrejudiceLab that brings together scholars and postgraduate students from Goldsmiths University of London, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Poland), Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland) and the University of Gdansk (Poland). The research conducted by the lab has been supported by 4 external and 5 internal (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities) research grants. One of the lab members received a grant to do fMRI research at Max Planck Institute, and obtained a three-month internship from the University of Melbourne. Another member received a Fulbright Scholarship to collaborate on an fMRI study at Virginia Commonwealth University. The lab regularly chairs seminars and symposia at international conferences, and publishes a blog and peer reviewed articles (https://collectivenarcissism.com/).

Additionally, Professor Golec de Zavala is a Reader at Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom, and a Visiting Professor at ISCTE-CIS (University Institute of Lisbon – Center for Psychological Research and Social Intervention).

Currently, she is the Principal Investigator in a research project “Mindful gratitude meditation as an intervention to address collective narcissists hostility in face of intergroup exclusion” 2017/26/A/HS6/00647 (2018-2023), financed by an advanced research grant MAESTRO, provided the National Science Center.

At SWPS University, she teaches classes in psychology of prejudice and psychology of intergroup conflict.