Breaking Bad … pathways: Redirection of compensatory motivation in pro-social directions


Anti-social behavior, such as displaced aggression or ethnocentrism, remains prevalent. Recent research suggests that such behavior may be more purposeful than previously considered. This is because, anti-social behavior serves to restore a sense of “agency” or control among those who experience goal failures and other motivational obstacles. Accordingly, the motivation that drives anti-social behavior could be redirected into pro-social pathways that similarly afford agency restoration. We will test for pro-social compensation at both the individual and group level and examine whether it is more effective within or across these identity levels.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. R. Spears

Affiliated with

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen, Sociale en Organisatiepsychologie

Team members

M. Agostini


01/12/2019 to 31/08/2022