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.
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.
We are currently looking for international publishers of our popscience book "Mismatch: How Our Stone Age Brains Deceive Us Daily." 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, work stress, divorce, xenophobia, social inequality, CEO pay, etc.). If interested in obtaining translation rights, please let me know.
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.
Basal testosterone, leadership and dominance: a field study and meta-analysis
Van der Meij, L., Schaveling, J., & Van Vugt, M. (2016). Basal testosterone, leadership and dominance: a field study and meta-analysis. Psychoneurendocrinology, 72, 72-79
This article examines the role of basal testosterone as a potential biological marker of leadership andhierarchy in the workplace. First, we report the result of a study with a sample of male employeesfrom different corporate organizations in the Netherlands (n = 125). Results showed that employees withhigher basal testosterone levels reported a more authoritarian leadership style, but this relationshipwas absent among those who currently held a real management position (i.e., they had at least onesubordinate). Furthermore, basal testosterone levels were not different between managers and non-managers, and testosterone was not associated with various indicators of status and hierarchy suchas number of subordinates, income, and position in the organizational hierarchy. In our meta-analysis(second study), we showed that basal testosterone levels were not associated with leadership in men norin women (9 studies, n = 1103). Taken together, our findings show that basal testosterone is not associatedwith having a leadership position in the corporate world or related to leadership styles in leaders. Wesuggest that basal testosterone could play a role in acquiring leadership positions through dominant andauthoritarian behavior.