Send to

Choose Destination
J Pers. 2012 Jun;80(3):573-602. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00743.x. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Passion for a cause, passion for a creed: on ideological passion, identity threat, and extremism.

Author information

Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada.

Erratum in

  • J Pers. 2012 Aug;80(4):1146.


Passion energizes and directs both peaceful and violent ideologically inspired movements. The type of ideological passion that underlies people's political or religious commitment was proposed to moderate the effect of social identity-threatening circumstances on their choice of activist tactics. Ideological passion was defined as a strong inclination toward a loved, valued, and self-defining cause, ideology, or group in which people invest considerable time and energy. Harmonious ideological passion was expected to promote peaceful activism and nonviolence partly because it is anchored in a strong and secure sense of identity-one that facilitates nondefensiveness in identity-threatening circumstances. Obsessive ideological passion, in contrast, was expected to engender hatred and aggressive extremism in identity-threatening circumstances partly because it is anchored in a strong, but insecure, sense of identity. Results from 2 studies, conducted with nationalist activists (N = 114) and devout Muslims (N = 111), supported these hypotheses. Implications for the motivation/passion and intergroup literatures are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center