Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology
The purpose of this website is to provide information and disseminate knowledge about my research, teaching, and consultancy in organizational psychology and evolutionary psychology.
My particular expertise lies in the field of evolutionary approaches to social and organizational behavior. I am interested in how evolutionary theory can be applied to understand group dynamics, organziational behavior, leadership, status, power, conflict and cooperation, and intergroup relations. In our lab at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) we are using a range of methodologies from experimental psychology, social neuroscience, and behavioral economics to test hypotheses about human group behavior and its evolutionary roots.
Here is some information about the VU LeadershipLab that I co-direct. The LeadershipLab was recently established as a tool for multi-disciplinary research, training and development for Leaders and Boardrooms of public and private organizations about matters of leadership and governance. Please contact me for more information about this unique facility.
I was a science adviser to a Dutch media campaign from SIRE to gain attention for the educational and behavioral problems of boys in the Netherlands "Laat jij jouw jongen genoeg jongen zijn". This campaign caused quite a stir in the Netherlands and was criticized by gender feminists, blank slate social activitsis,, and other sex difference deniers. A few years ago I wrote a column in de Volkskrant about the different natures of boys and girls.
I gave a 15 minute lecture to the University of Nederland with the title "Are women better leaders than men?." It is available on youtube. Only available in Dutch.
Here is the link to a webinar I recently gave about our book Naturally Selected: the Evolutionary Science of Leadership. It is part of the This View of Life book of the month series from the Evolution Institute. You can join TVOL1000 here if you want to know more about how evolutiuoanry science applies to social problems.
Since February 2017 I am the co-director of the Amsterdam Leadership and Governance Lab of the Vrije Universiteit (with prof. Gerda van Dijk, an organisation ecologist). The LeadershipLab aims to study leadership and group dynamic processes at Boardrooms of public and private organziations. We offer help with self-evaluations and improving boardroompractices, while collecting high quality science data from boards using a combination of interviews, questionaires, expertiments, and neuroscience methods. Any interest in being an external partner, mail me at m.van.vugt(at)vu.nl.
Onlangs ben ik gestart met mijn wetenschapskolumn voor de zaterdageditie van dagblad Trouw. De kolumn heet Hoofdzaak en gaat over de merkwaardige aspecten van het menselijk gedrag bezien door de bril van de psychologie, en in het bijzonder de evolutionaire psychologie.
Our popular science book "Mismatch: How Our Stone Age Brains Deceive Us Daily" will be realeased in the UK and US in early 2018 (LittleBrown is the publisher). Here is the executive summary. The book is a co-product of an evoutionary scientist (Mark van Vugt) with a best-selling novel writer (Ronald Giphart) about the mismatch between our modern environment and the ancestral environment in which humans evolved (and the consequences of this mismatch for our physical and mental wellbeing, e.g., obesity, depression, burnout, stress, divorce, xenophobia, social inequality, CEO pay, etc.).
Het populair wetenschappelijk boek "Mismatch: Hoe We Dagelijks Worden Misleid Door Ons Oeroude Brein" (Ronald Giphart & Mark van Vugt) is net verschenen, Inzichten uit de evolutionaire psychologie worden op een luchtige manier toegepast op uiteenlopende onderwerpen als de liefde (beinvloedt pilgebruik je partnerkeuze?), opvoeding (voeden we onze kinderen niet te beschermd op?), werk (waarom zijn bonussen geen goed idee?), leiderschap (waarom krijgen we hoofdpijn van onze baas?), media (waarom denken we dat TV persoonlijkheden onze vrienden zijn?), en oorlog (wat verklaart de aantrekkingskracht van IS?). Het boek is verschenen bij Uitgeverij Podium.
[The popular science book "Mismatch: How Our Ancestral Mind Deceives Us Daily" was recently released (Ronald Giphart & Mark van Vugt). We apply insights from evolutionary psychology in a lighthearted manner to diverse topics such as love (does the pill affect your partner choice?), education (are we too protective of our children?), work (is handing out a bonus a good idea?), leadership (why do our bosses give us headaches?), media (why do we think TV personalities are our best friends?) and war (what explains the appeal of ISIS to young men and women?). The book is published by Publisher Podium. We are currently looking for international publishers.
Our latest research (with Hannes Rusch) on war heroes and sexual selection was broadly covered in the international media.
Max Wildschut and I recently wrote an article for Management Team on why many leadership development programs fail. This is part of our monthly column in Management Team, titled "de Natuurlijke Leider."
Here is the chapter on the Evolution of Status and Hierarchy that I wrote with VU colleague Josh Tybur for the Buss' New Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (including a status evolutionary game model). Comments on this chapter are welcome!
I spent part of the summer of 2014 at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business school where I developed some fruitful collaborations with colleagues there to study the evolutionary and biological roots of organizational behaviors, including leadership.
In May 2014 I received the Juda Groen Prize from the Dutch Interdisciplinary Research Association (SIGO) for my evolutionary psychology research. I will spend the award money on research into the Organizational Zoo and Tribal Brain projects at the VU.
In the media
A recent interview on Dutch Radio 1 on our new study on leadership across various mammallian societies.
Recently we publsihed a book on the psychology of social dilemmas with Oxford University Press. (There is also a paperback version available now).
Our latest book "Gezag: De wetenschap van macht, gezag en leiderschap"is published with Arbeiderspers/Bruna. I wrote this with organizational psychologist Max Wildschut.
brein en integriteit
Brein en integriteit: Over de psychologie van macht en gezag (2015).
Lezing op de Dag van Integriteit.
Hoofdzaak: De mens komt er misschien mee weg maar in de natuur wordt nepotisme niet getolereerd
De mens komt er mee weg maar in de natuur wordt nepotisme niet gepikt. My science column in Trouw