Research projects: 


Cognitive consequences of anger as a state: The role of direction and intensity of motivation

Principal Investigator: Kinga Szymaniak

Research project objectives: Over past few decades positive and negative emotions were often linked to approach and avoidance motivation, respectively (e.g., Lang, 1995). However, this view seems to be oversimplified in light of recent findings. A good example of emotion that does not fit the aforementioned categories is anger. A growing body of research suggests that anger comprises two seemingly contradictory characteristics: negative valence and high approach motivation (e.g., Carver & Harmon-Jones, 2009). Although previous studies revealed some preliminary consequences of such characteristics of anger, it remains to be established how anger influences our cognitive functioning and to what extent it differs from other emotions of different valence and motivational intensity. Consequently, the current project strives to explore the relation between anger and its three cognitive consequences: risk-taking tendency, attentional bias toward reward-related stimuli and overly optimistic estimations of one`s abilities. Each of them is associated with the main characteristics of anger, i.e., high approach motivation. What’s more, these cognitive outcomes are linked to perception of certainty and control – the core aspect of cognitive appraisal related to anger (Lerner & Keltner, 2001). The main goal of the current project is the comparison of cognitive consequences of experiencing anger and four emotions (i.e. joy, desire, fear, sadness) that differ from each other in terms of valence, direction of motivation and/or motivational intensity. Hopefully, the proposed project will enrich the current state of knowledge on anger considered as a transient emotional state and emotions per se.


Cognitive and socio-emotional correlates of religiosity – the role of mentalization and empathy

Principal investigator: Paweł Łowicki

Research project objectives: The aim of this project is to investigate the role of cognitive and socio-emotional variables for human religiosity. The research program is going to focus on establishing correlational and causal relationships between mentalization, empathy and religiosity. The project will include four studies of different character. Study 1 will examine cross-sectional relationships between various measures of mentalization, empathy and religiosity in a randomized adult sample. The second study will verify whether an experimentally induced empathy and mentalization may lead to an increase in the level of declared religiosity. The third study will be carried out using a procedure of religious priming and will include a psychophysiological measurement of empathic response in order to examine the casual link between investigated constructs.


The role of cognitive control in the relationship between two types of narcissism and anger and hostility: experimental and and longitudinal studies

principal investigator: Oliwia Maciantowicz

Research project objectives: The main aim of the current project is examining the differences between the two types of narcissism in the cognitive regulation of aggressive feelings and hostile thoughts. Narcissism is one of the oldest psychological constructs, historically used to describe patients highly concentrated on self. An increasing body of evidence suggests that narcissism is not a unitary construct and that there are two forms of narcissism: grandiose and vulnerable. Two types of narcissism share some basic phenomena: the sense of entitlement, disregard of others, and grandiose self-relevant fantasies. Grandiose narcissism is characterized, among other aspects by an inflated positive self-image, high self-esteem and the need to be admired. Vulnerable narcissism, in contrast, is characterized by high hypersensitivity, vulnerability, anxiety, defensiveness, and a sense of insecurity. For many years narcissism was linked with aggressive behavior because of its inability to understand others’ perception.


Time perspective and cognitive functioning:  role of executive functions and TP training in development of balanced time perspective.

principal investigator: Joanna Witowska

Research project objectives: The aim of this research project is to examine the relationship between time perspective and cognitive processes and to identify the mechanisms shaping ideal time perspective profile, i.e. balanced time perspective (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). The aim of the first part of the project is to find out relationships between each time orientation (Past Positive, Past Negative, Present Fatalistic, Present Hedonistic, Future), ideal time perspective profile and executive functions that are identified with the processes of self-regulation. In the latter part of the project the mechanisms influencing the development of the balanced time perspective will be examined. Previous results show the impact of time perspectives on a number of aspects of life and the particularly adaptive role of balanced time perspective. These findings support the objectives defined in this project (see Stolarski, Fieulaine, van Beek, 2015).


Anger and cognition. Exploring relationships and mechanisms in psychometric and experimental studies.

principal investigator: Marcin Zajenkowski


Cognitive regulation of processes connected with antisocial personality traits: the role of intelligence, working memory and cognitive control.

principal investigator: Marcin Zajenkowski



Uniwersytet Warszawski
Wydział Psychologii
ul. Stawki 5/7
00-183 Warszawa