We are happy to share a new paper entitled “On the psychology of extremism: How motivational imbalance breeds intemperance” in which the authors present a psychological model of extremism based on the concept of motivational imbalance. According to the model, extremism takes place when a given need gains dominance and overrides other basic concerns. In contrast, moderation results from a motivational balance wherein individuals’ different needs are equitably attended to. Under moderation the different needs constrain individuals’ behaviors in prohibiting actions that serve some needs yet undermine others. Those constraints are relaxed under motivational imbalance where the dominant need crowds out alternative needs. As a consequence, the constraints are relaxed, permitting previously avoided activities to take place. The theory integrates different extremisms that share the same psychological core: extreme diets, extreme sports, extreme infatuations, diverse addictions, as well as violent extremism.
The paper published in Psychological Review can be found >>HERE<<
Congratulations to the authors (incl. Ewa Szumowska from our lab)!