Catherine Molho


Hi, I’m Catherine, currently in the third year of my PhD at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology at the VU Amsterdam. I have a bachelor’s in Psychology (Panteion University) and a research master’s in Social Psychology (cum laude; VU Amsterdam). During my studies, I became fascinated with social dilemma research and intrigued by evolutionary psychological perspectives. In my master’s thesis, I focused on the relation between power and cooperation in social dilemmas, looking at how power influences the use of strategies, such as punishment and gossip, to promote cooperation.

As part of my PhD project, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Balliet and Dr. Joshua Tybur, I study cooperation in various situations, that involve more or less conflicting interests, or strong versus weak hierarchical differences. More specifically, my project focuses on (a) how people perceive different dimensions of interdependence (such as conflict and power), (b) how they use emotional or nonverbal cues to infer their interdependence with others, and (c) how their perceptions of interdependence affect cooperation and punishment behavior.


Interdependence Perceptions and Cooperation (with Daniel Balliet & Simon Columbus)

This project investigates how people think about their interdependence with others in the lab and in the field, using various methodologies (i.e., online questionnaires, experiments, and experience sampling). It tests two models of interdependence perceptions in everyday life situations, and particularly focuses on how subjective perceptions of conflict and power influence decisions to cooperate with others, and tendencies to punish non-cooperators.

Asymmetric Power and Strategies to Promote Cooperation (with Daniel Balliet)

This research investigates how relative power affects cooperation, as well as strategies (i.e., punishment and gossip) used to promote cooperation , using novel web-based tools for real interaction experiments. Our work suggests that the powerful—rather than always behaving selfishly—may flexibly adjust their behavior in social dilemmas depending on whether their low-power counterparts have available means to enforce cooperation.

Anger, Disgust, and Moralistic Punishment  (with Joshua Tybur, Ezgi Güler, & Daniel Balliet)

This project examines how feelings of anger and disgust toward anti-social behaviors relate to alternative punishment tactics . Our work suggests that (a) socio-moral violations of the same content can give rise to different emotions (anger versus disgust) depending on their target, and that (b) anger and disgust responses may relate to different aggressive strategies—direct and indirect, respectively—toward moral violators.


in press

Eriksson, K., Strimling, P., Andersson, P.A., Aveyard, M., Brauer, M., Gritskov, V., Kiyonari, T., Kuhlman, D.M., Maitner, A., Manesi, Z., Molho, C., Peperkoorn, L.S., Rizwan, M., Stivers, A.W., Tian, Q., Van Lange, P.A.M., Vartanova, I., Wu, J., & Yamagishi, T. (in press). Cultural universals and cultural differences in meta-norms about peer punishment. Management and Organization Review.

Gerpott, F., Balliet, D., Columbus, S., Molho, C., & de Vries, R.E. (in press). How do people think about interdependence? A multidimensional model of subjective outcome interdependence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Molho, C., & Balliet, D. (in press). Navigating interdependent social situations. In D. Funder, J. Rauthmann, & R. Sherman (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Psychological Situations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tybur, J.M., Molho, C., & Balliet, D. (in press). Moralized disgust versus disgusting immorality: An adaptationist perspective. In N. Strohminger, & V. Kumar (Eds.), The Moral Psychology of Disgust.

Molho, C., Tybur, J.M., Güler, E., Balliet. D., & Hofmann, W. (2017). Disgust and anger relate to different aggressive responses to moral violations. Psychological Science, 28, 609-619.


Molho, C. Roberts, S.G.B., de Vries, R.E., & Pollet, T.V. (2016). The six dimensions of personality (HEXACO) and their associations with network layer size and emotional closeness to network members. Personality and Individual Differences, 99, 144-148.

Tybur, J. M., Inbar, Y., Güler, E., & Molho, C. (2015). Is the relationship between pathogen avoidance and ideological conservatism explained by sexual strategies?. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36, 489-497.

Tybur, J. M., Inbar, Y., Güler, E., & Molho, C. (2015). Pathogen disgust requires no defense: a response to Shook, Terrizzi, Clay, & Oosterhoff (2015). Evolution and Human Behavior, 36, 502-504.


My ResearchGate profile.

You can download my CV_here.