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Towards a Characterization of a Motive whose Ultimate Goal is to Increase the Welfare of the World: Quixoteism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2013

Sergio Salgado*
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Luis Oceja*
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Luis Oceja or Sergio Salgado. Ciudad Universitaria Cantoblanco (UAM). Facultad de Psicología, Despacho 83. 28049 Madrid. (Spain). E-mails: and
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Luis Oceja or Sergio Salgado. Ciudad Universitaria Cantoblanco (UAM). Facultad de Psicología, Despacho 83. 28049 Madrid. (Spain). E-mails: and


We use the term Quixoteism to refer to a new social motive. The characterization of this motive deals with two aspects: the definition of the ultimate goal (i.e., to increase the welfare of the world) and the proposal of a process that activates it (i.e., a transcendental-change orientation). Three studies were conducted to test this characterization. In Study 1 we developed an empirical measure of the transcendental-change orientation. The participants in Studies 2 and 3 were presented with a need situation. Results showed that the centrality of such an orientation was directly related to an interpretation consistent with the ultimate goal of Quixoteism (Study 2), and that its salience increases the likelihood of performing a high-cost prosocial behavior (Study 3).

Se propone la existencia de un motivo social que hemos denominado Quijotismo. La caracterización de este motivo comprende dos aspectos: la definición de un fin último diferenciado (i.e., mejorar el bienestar del mundo) y la propuesta de un proceso que facilita su activación (i.e., orientación al cambio trascendente). Se realizaron tres estudios para contrastar empíricamente dicha caracterización. En el Estudio 1 se desarrolló una medida operativa de la orientación al cambio trascendente. A los participantes de los Estudios 2 y 3 se les presentó una situación de necesidad. Los resultados mostraron que la centralidad de dicha orientación está relacionada con una interpretación consistente con el fin último de mejorar el bienestar del mundo (Estudio 2), y que su saliencia aumenta la probabilidad de realizar una conducta prosocial de alto coste (Estudio 3).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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