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Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology
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.
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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.
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brein en integriteit
Brein en integriteit: Over de psychologie van macht en gezag (2015).
Lezing op de Dag van Integriteit.
Leadership in mammalian societies: emergence, distribution, power and pay-off
Smith, J. E., Gavrilets, S., Borgerhoff Mulder, M., Hooper, P. L., El Moulden, C., Nettle, D., Hauert, C., Hill, K., Perry, S., Pusey, A. E., Van Vugt, M., & Smith, E. A. (2015). Leadership in mammalian societies: Emergence, distribution, power, and pay-off. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
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