ACADEMIC RESEARCH PAPERS
The Quest for Significance
The human quest for meaning and personal recognition has been widely discussed by writers, philosophers, and psychiatrists. It is among the most powerful psychic forces that shapes the history and destiny of nations. Revolutions, such as the French, American, or the Russian; social movements, such as the civil rights, feminism, or Islamic fundamentalism, were driven by people who experienced loss of significance due to discrimination and prejudice. Thus feeling a need to restore their lost significance and to become on par with other groups in society. Social psychologists dealt with the quest for significance in the study of achievement motivation, competence motivation, status striving, and the dread of nonexistence.
Papers, studies, and book chapters in this section address how the quest for significance is aroused, where it comes from, how it motivates human action, and what are its consequences.
Kruglanski, A.W. & Ellenberg, M. (2020). The Quest for personal significance and ideological violence: A comment on Wortman, Yoder, & Decety (2020). AJOB Neuroscience, 11(4), 285-287. PDF
Jasko, K., Grzymala-Maoszczynska, J., Maj, M., Szastok, M. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2020). Making Americans feel great again? Personal significance predicts political intentions of losers and winners of the 2016 U.S. elections. Political Psychology, 41(4), 717-736. PDF
Leander, N. P., Kreienkamp, J., Agostini, M., Stroebe, W., Gordijn, E. H., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2020). Biased hate crime perceptions can reveal supremacist sympathies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(32), 19072-19079. PDF
Leander, N.P., Agostini, M., Stroebe, W., Kreienkamp, J, Spears, R., Kuppens, T., Van Zomeren, M., Otten, S., and Kruglanski, A.W. (2020). Frustration-affirmation? Thwarted goals motivate compliance with social norms for violence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), 249–271. PDF
Jasko, K., Webber, D., Kruglanski, A. W., Gelfand, M., Taufiqurrohman, M., Hettiarachchi, M., & Gunaratna, R. (2019). Social context moderates the effects of quest for significance on violent extremism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118(6), 1165–118.
Belanger, J. J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Kessels, U. (2019). On sin and sacrifice: How intrinsic religiosity and sexual-guilt create support for martyrdom. Psychological Research on Urban Society, 2(2), 66-75. PDF
Jasko, K., Szastok, M., Grzymala-Moszczynska, J., Maj, M., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2019). Rebel with a cause: Personal significance from political activism predicts willingness to self-sacrifice. Journal of Social Issues, 75(1), 314-349. PDF
Leander, N. P., Stroebe, W., Kreienkamp, J., Agostini, M., Gordijn, E., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2019). Mass shootings and the salience of guns as means of compensation for thwarted goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(5), 704–723. PDF
Molinario, E., Kruglanski, A. W., Bonaiuto, F., Bonnes, M., Cicero, L., Fornara, F., ... & Degroot, W. (2019). Motivations to Act for the Protection of Nature Biodiversity and the Environment: A Matter of “Significance”. Environment and Behavior, 52(10), 1133-1163. PDF
Orehek, E., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2018). Personal failure makes society seem fonder: An inquiry into the roots of social interdependence. PloS one, 13(8): e0201361. PDF
Stroebe, W., Leander, N. P., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2017). Is it a dangerous world out there? The motivational bases of American gun ownership. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. PDF
Jasko, K., LaFree, G., & Kruglanski, A. (2017). Quest for significance and violent extremism: The case of domestic radicalization. Political Psychology, 38(5), 815-831. PDF
Dugas, M., Bélanger, J. J., Moyano, M., Schumpe, B. M., Kruglanski, A. W., Gelfand, M. J., ... & Nociti, N. (2016). The quest for significance motivates self-sacrifice. Motivation Science, 2(1), 15. PDF
Book Chapters in Edited Books
Nowak, A., Gelfand, M.J., Borkowski, W., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2017). Autocratic recidivism: Computational models of why revolutions fail. In Moadel, M., & Gelfand, M.J. (Eds). Values, Political Action and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring (pp. 271-294). Link