Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology



My main research interest is the study of group and organizational processes. I study these themes primarily from an evolutionary psychological perspective. In my research I look at all sorts of human groups, from small groups to large social networks. In my research I use a variety of research tools from experimental social psychology, cognitive psychology, behavioural economics, and neuroscience to find out more about questions such as:

How do groups organize themselves, how do they deal with social dilemma and with freeriders, how do they promote altruism and cooperation among their members, how do they resolve problems of leadership and status, and how do they interact with other groups?

As an evolutionary-minded psychologist, I am primarily interested in the psychological aspects of group and organziational behaviour (the proximate question), for example, why some people behave more selfishly and others altruistically. But I am also interested in how humans came to be a group-living species, and which psychological adaptations enable humans to successfully negotiate the various challenges and opportunities of group life (the ultimate question).

Here are some specific research projects that I and my research collaborators are currently working on. Publications from these projects are available as PDF.

Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt