MAESTRO Grant (2011/02/A/HS6/00155) awarded to prof. Małgorzata Kossowska by the National Centre for Science (2012-2018).


Marcin Bukowski (UJ), Katarzyna Jaśko (UJ), Aneta Czernatowicz-Kukuczka (UJ), Anna Czarna (UJ), Gabriela Czarnek (UJ), Piotr Dragon (UJ), Ewa Szumowska (UJ), Paulina Szwed (UJ), Maciej Sekerdej (UJ), Paweł Strojny (UJ), Agnieszka Strojny (UJ), Grzegorz Sędek (ICACS, SWPS), Klara Rydzewska (ICACS, SWPS).

About the grant

Our research program concerns the knowledge formation process informed by the theory of lay epistemic (Kruglanski, 1989). According to the theory, the construction of new knowledge is a persistent human activity. For activities ranging from the relatively simple and mundane to the highly complex, new knowledge is essential to assure confident decisions and reasoned actions. Given the ubiquity of knowledge formation concerns, and their essential psychological relevance to human thoughts, feelings, and actions, understanding how knowledge is formed and changed, was recognized as a task of considerable importance for psychological science. Thus, the general purpose of the present research program is to offer an integrative, unique approach to the work on epistemic process, affording a bird’s  eye perspective on knowledge formation processes; their motivational, affective, cognitive, and neurocognitive underpinnings, and their ramifications for a broad variety of social psychological phenomena: intrapersonal (e.g., decision making, ideological or religious beliefs), interpersonal (e.g. perspective taking), and intergroup (e.g., group centrism, outgroup derogation).

More precisely, the present project aims to clarify two crucial but hardly investigated issues in epistemic theory to reach an advanced model for the processes underlying knowledge formation in social domain. The first issue pertains to the integration of cognitive abilities (actual and perceived) to epistemic theory. In this line of research we plan to: (1) further explore the cognitive mechanisms of need for closure (related to cognitive inhibition and response control); (2) explore possible association of need for closure with individual differences in a basic neurocognitive mechanism involved broadly in self-regulation; (3) uncover the exact nature of perceived ability to achieve closure, the factor which in previous study consistently interacted with need for closure in predicting judgments and decision making. The second issue pertains to the role of distress in epistemic process. Finally, we suggest advanced model of epistemic process, predicting the role of personal (cognitive, motivational and affective) as well as contextual (e.g., positive affect, personal control, empowerment, level of expertise) components in it. We will apply this integrated model to explain such phenomena as ineffective decision making process and adherence to extreme ideological or religious convictions.

For a broader description of the project in English click HERE.

For a description of the project in Polish click HERE.

PhD theses

Joanna Grzymała Moszczyńska (2018). Is diversity is good for all? The moderating effects of need for closure and anty-prejudice interventions. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University), co-supervisor Marcin Bukowski (Jagiellonian University), co-supervisor Elisabeth Levy Paluck (Princeton University, US)

Gabriela Czarnek (2018). The moderating impact of effort mobilization on stereotyping in older age, Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University), co-supervisor Michael Richter, (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)

Krzysztof Hanusz (2018). Wpływ poczucia skuteczności na efekt ekspozycji na grę komputerową. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University)

Ewa Szumowska (2017). Motivational predictors of multitasking performance: Need for cognitive closure and multitasking strategy and performance. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University), co-supervisor: Arne Roets (Ghent University)

Klara Rydzewska (2017). The Influence of Aging on Sequential Decision Making: The Role of Cognitive and Motivational Factors. Supervisor: Grzegorz Sędek (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities), co-supervisor: Bettina von Helversen (University of Zurich)
Agnieszka Strojny (2017). Wnioskowanie o przyczynach zachowania: rola motywacji epistemicznej w kontekście Teorii energetyki poznawczej. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University)

Piotr Dragon (2015). The compensation effect in perception of groups: the role of epistemic motivation. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University), co-supervisor: Arie W. Kruglanski (University of Maryland)
Paweł Strojny (2015). Poznawcze źródła procesu nabywania wiedzy społecznej. Postrzegana zdolność w zakresie realizacji celów epistemicznych jako element procesu epistemicznego. Supervisor: Małgorzata Kossowska (Jagiellonian University)
  1. Bukowski, M., von Hecker, U., Kossowska, M. (2013). Motivational determinants of reasoning about social relations: The role of need for cognitive closure. Thinking & Reasoning, 19, 150-177.
  2. Bukowski, M., Dragon, P., & Kossowska, M. (2014). The impact of incidental fear and anger on in- and outgroup attitudes. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 45, 312-317.
  3. Czernatowicz – Kukuczka, A., Jaśko, K., & Kossowska, M. (2014). Need for closure and dealing with uncertainty in decision making context: The role of the behavioral inhibition system and working memory capacity. Personality & Individual Differences, 70, 126-130.
  4. Kossowska, M., Bukowski, M., & Czarnek, G. (2014). Two routes to closure: Time pressure and goal activation effects on executive control. Polish Psychological Bulletin,  45, 268-274.
  5. Kossowska, M., Czarnek., G., Wronka, E., Wyczesny, M., & Bukowski, M. (2014). Individual differences in epistemic motivation and brain conflict monitoring activity. Neuroscience Letters, 570, 38-41.
  6. Sędek, G, Kossowska, M., & Rydzewska, K. (2014). The importance of adult life-span perspective in explaining variations in political ideology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 330-331.
  7. Szumowska, E., & Kossowska, M. (2014). Causal attributions of immoral behaviors in relation to moral identity and moral strictness. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 57(3), 409-422.
  8. Czarnek, G., Kossowska, M., & Sedek, G. (2015). The influence of aging on outgroup stereotypes: The mediating role of cognitive and motivational facets of deficient flexibility. Experimental Aging Research41(3), 303–324.
  9. Jaśko, K., Czernatowicz-Kukuczka, A., Kossowska, M., & Czarna, A. (2015). Individual differences in response to uncertainty and decision making: the role of behavioral inhibition system and need for closure. Motivation & Emotion39(4), 541–552. 
  10. Kossowska, M., Czarnek, G., Wyczesany, M., Wronka, E., Szwed, P., & Bukowski, M. (2015). Electrocortical indices of attention correlate with the need for closure. NeuroReport: For Rapid Communication of Neuroscience Research26(5), 285–290.
  11. Kossowska, M., Dragon, P., & Bukowski, M. (2015). When need for closure leads to positive attitudes towards a negatively stereotyped outgroup. Motivation & Emotion, 1, 88-98. 
  12. Kossowska, M., & Sekerdej, M. (2015). Searching for certainty: Religious beliefs and intolerance toward value-violating groups.Personality and Individual Differences83, 72–76.
  13. Maj, M., & Kossowska, M. (2015). Prejudice toward outgroups as a strategy to deal with mortality threat: Simple reaction with a complex foundation. Theoria at Historia Scientiarum: An International Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies, 12, 15-28. doi: 10.12775/ths.2015.002.
  14. Roets, A., Kruglanski, A., Kossowska, M., Pierro, & A. Hong, Y. (2015) The Motivated Gatekeeper of Our Minds: New Directions in Need for Closure Theory and Research. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology52, 221-283.
  15. Kossowska, M., Bukowski, M., Guinote, A., Dragon, P., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2016) Self-image threat decreases stereotyping: The role of motivation toward closure Motivation & Emotion, 40, 830–841.
  16. Kossowska, M., Czernatowicz-Kukuczka, A., Szumowska, E., & Czarna, A. (2016). Cortisol and moral decisions among young men: The moderating role of motivation toward closure. Personality and Individual Differences, 101, 249–253.
  17. Kossowska, M., Guinote, A., & Strojny, P. (2016). Power Boosts Reliance on Preferred Processing Styles.  Motivation & Emotion, 40, 556–565 DOI 10.1007/s11031-016-9548-8
  18. Kossowska, M., Szwed, P., Wronka, E., Czarnek, G., & Wyczesany, M. (2016).  Anxiolytic function of fundamentalist beliefs: Neurocognitive evidence. Personality and Individual Differences, 101, 390–395 .
  19. Strojny, P., Kossowska, M., Strojny, A. (2016). Kiedy potrzeba domknięcia sprzyja złożonemu poznaniu. Roczniki Psychologiczne, XIX, 1, 9-25.
  20. Szumowska, E., & Kossowska, M. (2016). Need for Closure and Multitasking Performance: The Role of Shifting Ability. Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 12-17.
  21. Kossowska, M., Czernatowicz-Kukuczka, A., & Sekerdej, M. (2017). Many faces of dogmatism: Prejudice as a way of protecting certainty against value-violators among dogmatic believers and atheists. British Journal of Psychology, 08, 127–147. DOI:10.1111/bjop.12186
  22. Kossowska, M., Szwed, P., Czernatowicz – Kukuczka, A., Sekerdej, M. i Wyczesany, M. (2017). From threat to relief: Expressing prejudice towards atheists as a self-regulatory strategy protecting the religious orthodox from threat. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:873. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00873
  23. Sankaran, S., Grzymala-Moszczynska, J., Strojny, A., Strojny, P., & Kossowska, M. (2017). Rising up to the ‘challenge’? The role of need for closure and situational appraisals in creative performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 136–145.
  24. Sankaran, S., Szumowska, E., Kossowska,M. (2017). „When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Motivation toward closure and effort investment in the performance of cognitive tasks. Motivation and Emotion, 41, 308-321
  25. Szumowska, E., & Kossowska, M. (2017). Motivational rigidity enhances multitasking performance: The role of handling interruptions. Personality and Individual Differences 106, 81–89.
  26. Szumowska, E. & Kossowska, M. (2017). Need for cognitive closure and attention allocation during multitasking: Evidence from eye-tracking studies. Personality and Individual Differences, 111, 272–280.
  27. Szwed, P., Szumowska, E., Kossowska, M. & Wright, R. (2017). Multifaceted Effects of Need for Cognitive Closure on Effort: A Cardiovascular Response Study. Motivation Science, 3, 369-382.
  28. Kossowska, M., Szumowska, E., Dragon, P., Jaśko, K. & Kruglanski, A. (2018). Disparate Roads to Certainty: Processing Strategy Choices under Need for Cognitive Closure. European Review of Social Psychology, 29, 161-211. DOI: 10.1080/10463283.2018.1493066 
  29. Kossowska., M., Szwed, P., Wyczesany, M., Czarnek, G., i Wronka, E. (2018). Religious fundamentalism modulates neural responses to error-related words: The role of motivation towards closure. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00285
  30. Marchlewska, M., Cichocka, A., Kossowska, M. (2018). Addicted to answers: Need for cognitive closure and the endorsement of conspiracy theories. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 109-117. Doi 10.1002/ejsp.2308
  31. Rydzewska, K., von Helversen, Kossowska, M., Magnuski, Sędek, G. (2018). Age-Related Within-Task Adaptations in Sequential Decision Making: Considering Cognitive and Motivational Factors. Psychology and Aging, 3, 297–314,
  32. Sekerdej, M., Kossowska, M., & Czernatowicz – Kukuczka, A. (2018). Uncertainty and Prejudice: The Role of Religiosity in Shaping Group Attitudes. European Journal of Social Psychology. 48, 091-0102. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2298
  33. Szumowska, E., Kossowska, M,. Roets, A. (2018). Motivation to comply with task rules and multitasking performance: The role of need for cognitive closure and goal importance, Motivation & Emotion, 42:360–376,
  34. Szumowska, E., Popławska – Boruc, A., Kossowska, M. (2018). How many things do you (like to) do at once? The relationship between need for closure and multitasking preference and behavior. Personality & Individual Differences, 134, 222-231.
  35. Czarnek, G., Kossowska, M., Richter, M. (2019). Aging, effort, and stereotyping: The evidence for the moderating role of self-involvement. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 138, 1-10. DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2019.01.009  
  36. Dragon, P., Kossowska, M. (2019). Need for closure and compensatory rule-based perception: The role of information consistency. European Journal of Social Psychology. 49, 127–140. DOI 10.1002/ejsp.2512.
  37. Senderecka, M., Kossowska, M., Sekerdej, M., & Szewczyk, J. (2019). Religious fundamentalism is associated with hyperactive performance monitoring: ERP evidence from correct and erroneous responses. Biological Psychology140, 96–107.
Chapters of books
  1. Kossowska, M. & Jaśko, K. (2013). Need and ability in the process of knowledge formation. In: Cervone, Daniel (Ed.); Fajkowska, Małgorzata (Ed.); Eysenck, Michael W. (Ed.); Maruszewski, Tomasz (Ed.),Personality dynamics: Meaning construction, the social world, and the embodied mind (107-121). Clinton Corners, NY, US: Eliot Werner Publications.
  2. Kossowska, M., Hanusz, K., & Trejtowicz, M. (2014). A Short Version of the Need for Closure Scale: Item selection and scale validation. In: T. Marek, W. Karwowski, M., Frankowicz, J. Kantol, P. Zgaga. (eds.). Human Factors of a Global Society: A System of Systems Perspective (pp. 285-298). Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
  3. Kossowska, M. & Bukowski, M. (2015). Motivated Roots of Conspiracies: The Role of Certainty and Control Motives in Conspiracy Thinking. In: M. Bilewicz, A. Cichocka, W. Soral (eds.). Psychology of conspiracy (145-162).  New York,Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  4. Kossowska, M., Bukowski, M. & Sankaran, S. (2017). Ironic effects od need for closure on closed minded processing mode: The role of perceived control over reducing uncertainty. In: M. Bukowski, I. Fritsche, A. Guinote and M. Kofta  (Eds). Coping with lack of control in a social world (pp. 49-61). London & New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
  5. Kossowska, M. Sekerdej, M. & Czernatowicz – Kukuczka, A. (2017). Religia i nietolerancja. O przekonaniach religijnych podszytych lękiem i ich społecznych konsekwencjach [Religion and intolerance: religious beliefs laced with anxiety and their social consequences.] W J. Brzeziński (red.), Obcy i swoi. Psychologiczna natura stosunków międzygrupowych (s. 95-118). Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Wydziału Nauk Społecznych UAM.
Kossowska, M., Szumowska, E., Szwed, P. (2018). Tolerancja w czasach niepewności. Psychologiczne mechanizmy zamkniętości – otwartości umysłowej. Sopot: Smak Słowa.
The book available soon – check at the >>publisher site<<
Project popularisation

In English

In Polish

the interview for the Polityka magazine,1,



Kraków Small Group Meeting on Cognitive Consistency – Kraków 2016
EASP Small Group Meeting – Przegorzały 2013