My research focuses on understanding Human Cooperation. I apply experiments, field studies, and meta-analysis to test evolutionary and psychological theories of cooperation. My work addresses issues related to (a) how people think about their interdependence in social interactions, (b) how people condition their cooperation to acquire direct and indirect benefits, and (c) understanding cross-societal variation in cooperation. I founded the Amsterdam Cooperation Lab in 2015, and I am the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant.
I am interested in conducting experimental research on prosocial and cooperative behavior. In particular, I focus on understanding the relation between institutions, trust, and cooperation among strangers. I am currently involved in the creation of a multi-disciplinary open access database that aims to capture the entire history of research on human cooperation, and I aim to apply meta-analytic methods on this rich data to contribute to the understanding of cooperation across the globe.
My main research interest is on the understanding of prosocial and ethical behaviors and individual differences therein. In my research, I mostly apply an experimental approach by combining and integrating methods from (economic) game theory, social psychology, and basic personality research. More recently, I have also started applying meta-analysis to gain a broader understanding of the personality traits driving the various prosocial behaviors in economic games.
I am using social psychological and evolutionary perspectives to understand how cooperation can be promoted and sustained. My research focuses on (a) how people think about their interdependence with others in real-life settings, (b) how power influences cooperation and strategies to promote cooperation (e.g., punishment and gossip), and (c) how emotional cues influence decisions in social dilemma situations.
I consider my field of research, cooperation, a very important area of research as it has implications for policy makers and planners. As I learned more about social dilemma research from my colleagues, group size became my focus. Over the next four years as a PhD candidate, I will conduct new investigations on group size, work effectively with and learn from great minds within the social dilemma domain, and review the literature in meta-analytic studies.
- Expectations and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas
- Workplace Deviance and OCBs as Social Dilemmas
- Effects of Gender and Age on Organizational Behaviors
I am broadly interested in the ultimate and proximal causes of cooperation and conflict, which I study through from an interdisciplinary perspective. My work focuses on a) “the games people play” in their daily lives, b) the mechanisms by which people infer outcome interdependence from cues in their social environment, and c) how this subjectively experienced interdependence shapes cooperative behavior.
FORMER PhD STUDENTS
Paul Van Lange
Carsten De Dreu
Olmo van der Akker