Portrait of Maria Heering

Maria Heering

Postgraduate Researcher


Maria Heering is a Postgraduate Researcher at the School of Psychology.

Thesis Title


Research interests

Maria is currently involved in a cross-disciplinary PhD research programme in social psychology and politics. Her current research focuses on 'social banditry', more specifically on systematically and empirically analysing why people support and legitimise 'social bandits', actors such as gangs, criminal organizations and hackers. Those actors operate using semi-legal and illegal means often challenging the state authority and corroding public and institutional trust. Maria is also interested generally in the role of power in inter-group dynamics, Social Dominance Orientation and punishment.




2017-2020 – Vice Chancellor's Scholarship


  • Rullo, M., Lalot, F., & Heering, M.S. (2021). Moral identity, moral self-efficacy, and moral elevation: A sequential mediation model predicting moral intentions and behaviour, The Journal of Positive Psychology. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2021.1871942.   
  • Lalot, F., Heering, M. S., Rullo, M., Travaglino, G. A., & Abrams, D. (2020). ‘The dangers of distrustful complacency: Low concern and low political trust combine to undermine compliance with governmental restrictions in the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1-16, doi:10.1177/1368430220967986
  • Heering, M. S., Travaglino, G. A., Abrams, D., & Goldsack, E. (2020). ‘If they don’t listen to us, they Deserve It’: The Effect of External Efficacy and Anger on the Perceived Legitimacy of Hacking. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations23(6), 863-881. doi:10.1177/1368430220937777
  • Heering, M. S., & Leone, L. (2019). Power moderates the effects of Social Dominance Orientation on punishment: An experimental analysis. Psychological Reports122(1), 201-218. doi: 10.1177/0033294118755095.   
  • Passafaro, P., Cini, C., Boi, L., D'Angelo, M., Heering, M.S., Lucchetti, L., Mancini, A., Martemucci, V., Pacella, G., Patrizi, F., Sassu, F., Triolo, M. (2015). The sustainable tourist: Values, attitudes and personality. Tourism and Hospitality Research15(4), 225–239. doi: 10.1177/1467358415576086   


  • Paper presentation accepted at the European Association of Social Psychology 2020 Annual Conference (postponed due to Covid-19).  
  • Heering, M.S., Travaglino, G. A., Abrams, D., & Toros., H. (2020, July). They got what they deserve: Schadenfreude predicts support for Hackers when political leaders are corrupt. Paper presented at the International Society of Political Psychology Annual Meeting, Virtual. 
  • Heering, M.S., Travaglino, G. A., Abrams, D., & Toros., H. (2020, February). Authorities and their Discontent: legitimization across actors and contexts. Paper presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.   
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