The purpose of this website is to provide information and disseminate knowledge about my research in evolutionary psychology, social, and organizational psychology.
My particular expertise lies in the field of evolutionary approaches to human behavior. I am interested in how evolutionary theory can be applied to understand group processes, leadership and followership, status and power, altruism, conflict and cooperation, and intergroup relations. In our lab at the VU we are using a range of methodologies from experimental psychology, social neuroscience, and behavioral economics to test hypotheses about human behavior.
I have also a keen interest in applications of evolutionary psychology to societal problems regarding business and management, sex differences in social behaviour, environmental conservation and sustainability, politics and warfare, economics and finance, health and poverty, charity and philanthropy.
Copies of articles, book chapters and lecture slides are available as PDFs on my website, see publications.
Here is a an introductory chapter I wrote with a colleague on Evolutionary Perspectives on Group Processes if you are interested in this emerging field
Mark Van Vugt, Professor of Psychology*
*Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam,
Transitorium. room 1 B-29, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
*Institute for Cogntive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK
*Centre for the Study of Group Processes, University of Kent, UK
Here is a draft chapter on the Evolution of Status Hierarchies that I wrote with VU colleague Josh Tybur for the Buss' New Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (including a new status game model).
Comments on this chapter are welcome!
I spent part of the summer of 2014 at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Busiuness 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.
We contributed to UNESCO's World Social Science Report (2013) on Changing Global Environments bringing an evolutionary perspective to sustainable behavior change.
I visited the Dutch Parliament to talk about isses regarding sustainability and behavior change.
I am a blogger for the Volkskrant, a national newspaper in the Netherlands, on all sorts of topics around the brain, society and evolution.
I am part of an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers studying Leadership and Hierarchy in Animal and Human Societies. This research team consists of anthropogists, biologists, mathematicians, and (evolutionary) psychologists and convenes at the National Institute for Mathematics and Systems Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
I gave a talk at the "New Frontiers in Social Neuroscience" conference in Paris (March 2013), organized by the Ipsen Foundation, on "Leadership: An Organizational Neuroscience Perspective." Here is the press release with a summary of this 1 day conference.
Darwin en duurzaamheid. Interview for EOS science magazine about evolutionary psychology and sustainability.
I recently gave a talk for the Cliniclowns on our research, titled "Laughter as painkiller: On the evolution and psychology of laughter and humor" (Lachen als Pijnstiller). The slides (in Dutch) can be found under "lectures/presentations"
Here are the proofs of a chapter, titled "Evolution and Groups" that I wrote together with Tatsuya Kameda for the new 2012 Handbook of Group Processes. We have a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, titled "The Evolutionary Bases for Sustainable Behavior: Implications for Marketing, Policy and Social Entrepreneurship" (with Vlad Griskevicius and Stephanie Cantu). It is one of the first attempts to use an evolutionary psychology framework to understand environmental problems and how to foster environmental sustainability.
Call for papers special journal issue of Evolutionary Psychology on "Evolutionary psychology in the modern world: Applications, perspectives and strategies" (guest editors: Craig Roberts, Robin Dunbar, and Mark van Vugt); deadline abstracts 30 November.
In the news
Onlangs heb ik samen met VU collega's Paul van lange en Daniel Balliet een Engelstalig boek gepubliceerd over social dilemma's (Social dilemmas: The psychology of cooperation; Oxford University Press)
Sinds kort schrijf ik een weblog voor de Volkskrant VONK. De titel van mijn blog is Hoofdzaak. In deze blog bekijk en interpreteer ik actuele gebeurtenissen in de samenleving, politiek, en economie, door de (Darwinistische) bril van de evolutionaire wetenschapper.
Ons nieuwe boek "Gezag: De wetenschap van macht, gezag en leiderschap"(vertaling: Prestige) verschijnt in November 2012 bij de Arbeiderspers/Bruna. Het is geschreven samen met organisatie-adviseur Max Wildschut.
Bij de Nederlandse verkiezingen deden we een onderzoek, in samenwerking met NRC en Psychologie Magazine, waarbij we de gezichten van de politieke leiders manipuleerden
(met PhD-student Allen Grabo)
The New Scientist (15 September 2012) featured our research on evolutionary psychology and sustainability: Let's use evolution to turn us green.
A PhD studentship from the Chinese government to examine the impact of unbalanced sex ratios in the work place (with Dr. Josh Tybur and Ting ting Ji)
A new grant-funded research project is the "Groene Schoolpleinen"-project (met Dr. Jolanda Maas), funded by Produktschap Tuinbouw and Jantje Beton. This looks at the social and cognitive effects on children of greening up school yards in the Netherlands.
Current NWO (Dutch Science Foundation) funded research projects include "The Psychology of Intergroup Helping" (with Dr. Esther van Leeuwen) and "Ethnic Leadership" (with Dr. Astrid Homan). These are Mozaiek grants for PhD-students Katherina Alvarez and Seval Gundemir.
Previous grants include "Leadership in social networks" (with Dr,. Brian Spisak funded by US Naval Office) and "the social guilt hypothesis" (with DR. Roger Giner-Sorolla, University of Kent, funded by ESRC).
We have also obtained KNAW funding for a NIAS/Lorentz workshop on "biological markets and social dilemmas"(with Ronald Noe) in January 2012.
Past research has been funded through the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), The British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, The US Office of Naval Research, and various governments and NGO's.
Currenty I have a number of collaborations with colleagues at various Dutch universities participating in the "Brain in the Boardroom" project.
I further collaborate with international colleagues at various interantional unievrsities such as: the University of Kent (social guilt hypothesis), Michigan State University(the male warrior hypothesis), Bristol University (evolutionary psychology of intergroup relations), University of Oxford (social laughter), University of Pennsylvania (evolution of leadership), University of Minnesota (evolutionary psychology of environmental sustainability), and the National Unievrsity of Singapore (leadership)
Current collaborators include: University of Kent (Roger Giner Sorolla; Edward Cartwright), the University of Oxford (Dominic Johnson, Harvey Whitehouse), the University of Bristol (Justin Park, Ian Penton-Voak), the University of Oxford (Robin Dunbar), University of Pennsylvania (Rob Kurzban), Michigan State Unversity (carlos Navarrete), University of Minnesota (Vladas Griskevicius), University of Georgia (Sarah Brosnan), Strassbourg University (Ronald Noe),Washington State University (Craig Parks), National Unievrsity of Singapore (Richard Arvey).