Dottoressa di ricerca

ciclo: XXXVI

supervisore: Prof. Antonio Pierro


According to Significance Quest Theory (SQT; Kruglanski et al., 2022), Costly Signaling Theory (CST; Grafen, 1990; McAndrew, 2021; Zahavi, 1975, 1977 ), and psychology of extremism (Kruglanski et al., 2021), the general purpose of this dissertation is to provide an empirical contribution to show that the quest for significance may lead to prosocial behaviors when they are costly in terms of energy and resources, and when there is an audience watching them. These kinds of behaviors are conceptualized as extreme because the difficulty of implementing them implies that the individual must direct his or her resources to that end, neglecting other needs or goals and generating a situation of motivational imbalance. More specifically, the overall hypothesis was that individuals with high need for significance are more likely to support an aid program when it is costly (i.e., difficult) and when it is public (i.e., visible). To fulfill this purpose, and following the logic of converging operations, this single general hypothesis was decomposed in five specific hypothesis and tested through four studies (Total N = 917) with different designs and methods. The studies were carried out using: a) correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Studies 2, 3, 4) studies design; b) chronic measures of quest for significance (Studies 1, 2, 3) and a memory task (Study 4) to prompt the quest for significance; c) within- (Study 1) and between- (Study 2) subjects designs to measure preference for the support and manipulation of costly/difficult (vs. non-costly) aid programs; d) public (vs. anonymous) prosocial behavior tendency (Studies 1, 2) and experimental manipulation of visibility of prosocial behavior (Studies 3, 4); e) and, finally, the measure of altruism as a covariate to control for its effect on relationship between quest for significance and support for costly and public aid programs (Study 4). The results confirmed the general hypothesis, and the four studies described in this dissertation paint a consistent picture of the effect of quest for significance on engagement in costly and public prosocial behaviors. In conclusion, despite several limitations, this doctoral project may have implications on theoretical level, as it enriches the literature on quest for significance and extreme prosocial behavior, which is still lacking, and may be useful to identify commonalities between QST and CST, always considered separately. Furthermore, it may also have practical implications for charity fundraisers and provide directions for future research on the motivational basis of helping behavior.

Produzione scientifica

11573/1682986 - 2023 - The Effects of the COVID-19-induced Lockdown on the Social Capital and Cultural Capital in Italy
Menardo, E; Viola, M; Bacherini, A; Angelini, L; Cubelli, R; Balboni, G - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: SOCIAL INDICATORS RESEARCH (Dordrecht; London; Boston: Springer Nature B.V. Dordrecht; London; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers; Reidel) pp. - - issn: 0303-8300 - wos: WOS:000999537100001 (0) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85160827982 (1)

11573/1692635 - 2023 - Ambitious people are more prone to support resource-intensive aid programs
Viola, M.; Kruglanski, A. W.; Ellenberg, M.; Pierro, A. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: MOTIVATION AND EMOTION (Plenum Press:Book Customer Service, 233 Spring Street:New York, NY 10013:(212)620-8471, (212)620-8000, EMAIL:, INTERNET:, Fax: (212)807-1047) pp. 1027-1039 - issn: 0146-7239 - wos: WOS:001089881200008 (0) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85173807548 (0)

11573/1692636 - 2023 - Ambition and Extreme Behavior in the Workplace: How the Dualistic Model of Passion explains this relationship
Viola, Marta - 04d Abstract in atti di convegno
congresso: XIX Congresso Nazionale della Sezione di Psicologia per le Organizzazioni - PREFIGURARE LA VITA NUOVA: LA PSICOLOGIA PER LE ORGANIZZAZIONI TRA CONFLITTO E DESIDERIO, TECNOLOGIA E SOSTENIBILITÀ (Cagliari, Italy)
libro: Book of Abstract XIX Congresso Nazionale della Sezione di Psicologia per le Organizzazioni - ()

11573/1670850 - 2023 - How and when need for cognitive closure impacts attitudes towards women managers (Cómo y cuándo la necesidad de cierre influye en las actitudes hacia las mujeres directivas)
Viola, Marta; Baldner, Conrad; Pierro, Antonio - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: REVISTA DE PSICOLOGÍA SOCIAL (-Abingdon UK: Routledge Taylor & Francis -Madrid: Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje, 1986- Latest publisher: Abingdon UK: Routledge Taylor & Francis) pp. 157-191 - issn: 1579-3680 - wos: WOS:000906964000001 (3) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85145509144 (3)

11573/1615948 - 2022 - Perceived COVID-19 threat and reactions to noncompliant health-protective behaviors: the mediating role of desired cultural tightness and the moderating role of age
Baldner, C.; Di Santo, D.; Viola, M.; Pierro, A. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH (Basel: MDPI 2003-) pp. - - issn: 1660-4601 - wos: WOS:000769087600001 (8) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85124876812 (9)

11573/1640557 - 2022 - Direct and imagined contact moderates the effect of need for cognitive closure on attitudes towards women managers
Baldner, Conrad; Viola, Marta; Capozza, Dora; Vezzali, Loris; Kruglanski, Arie W.; Pierro, Antonio - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY & APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY ([Chichester, W. Sussex, England] : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.) pp. - - issn: 1099-1298 - wos: WOS:000806623900001 (3) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85131329664 (3)

11573/1680100 - 2022 - The indirect Need for Cognitive Closure effect on preference for men in authority
Baldner, Conrad; Viola, Marta; Pierro, Antonio - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: PSYCHOLOGY HUB (Roma: Sapienza Università editrice) pp. - - issn: 2723-973X - wos: (0) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85160104171 (0)

11573/1617063 - 2022 - Socioeconomic Status, Cultural Capital, and Social Capital in Adults: A Structural Equation Model
Menardo, E.; Viola, M.; Pierluigi, I.; Cretella, C.; Cubelli, R.; Balboni, G. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: PSICOTHEMA (Universidad Oviedo Dept Psilologia:C Aniceto Sela, 33005 Oviedo Spain:011 34 98 5 5104058, EMAIL:, Fax: 011 34 98 5 5104058) pp. 74-83 - issn: 0214-9915 - wos: WOS:000761082700009 (6) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85123814391 (5)

11573/1680102 - 2022 - Ambitious people are more prone to engage in costly aid programs
Viola, Marta - 04d Abstract in atti di convegno
congresso: 30º Congresso dell’ Associazione Italiana di Psicologia (Padova, Italy)
libro: Book of Abstract 30º Congresso dell’ Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - ()

11573/1617858 - 2021 - What Influenced People's Cultural and Social Capitals During COVID-19 Lockdown in Italy?
Balboni, G.; Viola, M.; Larissa Hartle, M. S.; Menardo, E.; Cubelli, R. - 04f Poster
congresso: APA 2021 Virtual Convention (Online)
libro: APA 2021 Virtual Convention - ()

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