The main research themes are trust, leadership, and cooperation, which are pillars of human prosociality. Using a combination of experimental and field research and a broad range of innovating methodologies from psychology and adjacent disciplines (such as behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, psychometrics and meta-analysis) the programme examines the evolutionary, social and individual psychological processes shaping trust, cooperation, and leadership, and applies these insights to improve the welfare of individuals, relationships, groups, and organizations. TLC also investigates related topics such as altruism, justice, culture, self-regulation, personality and power. In light of the multidisciplinary focus of the programme, we actively engage in collaborations with researchers in other fields both inside and outside psychology and both nationally and internationally.
Trust, Leadership and Cooperation
Trust, Leadership and Cooperation
History of TLC
TLC started in 2009 with the merger of two departments, Social Psychology and Work & Organizational Psychology. Before 2009 there were two separate research programs “social interaction” (leaders, Prof. Rusbult and Prof Van Lange) and “management of individual differences and social processes in organizations” (leader, Prof. Van der Flier, interim Prof. Kelderman). With the appointment of Prof. van Vugt (to replace the retired van der Flier) and the loss of Prof. Rusbult (in 2009) the programs were merged into one, TLC, with foci on classic social psychology themes such as trust and cooperation and organizational psychology themes such as leadership and diversity.
TLC is embedded within the department of Social and Organizational Psychology (see section department S&O) with an international focus (staff and PhD-students come from no fewer than 7 countries). There are regular colloquia, brown-bag research meetings, and an annual mini-conference where staff and PhD’s present their research to each other. Presentations at prestigious conferences are financially supported (each staff and PhD receive an annual personal budget).
There are VU-collaborations with computer sciences (for modeling), Camera (in Dutch) (for virtual reality), and VU-Medical Center (for hormonal and twin research). TLC ensures high quality training for PhD’s through courses offered through the Kurt Lewin Institute and Faculty of Behavioural and Human Movement Sciences Graduate School.
Much of the research is conducted with students of our Masters courses, in particular the 2-year Research Masters which offers high class research training for aspiring PhD-students (80% of graduates get into PhD-positions) through in-house and international experts (Amodio, Baumeister, Tice, Williams). TLC-members work with scientists at universities around the globe (including Oxford, Singapore, UCLA), and the Department is a popular hub for US and European researchers.
The department offers excellent research facilities and staff and PhD’s have access to dedicated labs for experimental research, including labs for observation, physiological research (ERP), and neuro-imaging.
For more information on lab facilities of the faculty of Psychology and Education see Research Facilities.
Research projects Trust, Leadership and Cooperation
All research projects within the programme of TLC fit within the core themes of the programme: Trust, Leadership, and Cooperation. Each of these projects is supported by an external grant. Select one of the main themes, then look for individual projects. Find an overview of research themes and projects below.
Theme Projects Researcher(s) Trust Biological and Cultural Perspectives of Trust and Cooperation dr. Daniel P. Balliet, prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange Trust and Self-control in Relationships prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Tila M. Pronk, dr. Francesca Righetti Leadership Evolutionary Psychology of Status, Power, and Leadership dr. Claire E. Ashton-James, dr. Leander van der Meij, dr. Thomas V. Pollet, dr. Richard D. Ronay, dr. Reinout E. de Vries, prof. dr. Mark van Vugt Leadership, Personality, and Morality prof. dr. Marise Born, prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Joshua M. Tybur, dr. Reinout E. de Vries, prof. dr. Mark van Vugt Leadership and Organizational Dynamics dr. Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, dr. Janneke K. Oostrom, dr. Richard D. Ronay, dr. Reinout E. de Vries, prof. dr. Mark van Vugt Cooperation The Psychology of Helping prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Esther van Leeuwen, dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen Fairness, Cooperation, and Conspiracies prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen Social Dilemmas and Human Cooperation dr. Daniel P. Balliet, prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Joshua M. Tybur, prof. dr. Mark van Vugt The Psychology and Neuroscience fo Altruism, Norm Violation, and Social Mindfulness prof. dr. Roy Baumeister, prof. dr. Paul A.M. van Lange, dr. Thomas V. Pollet, dr. Tila M. Pronk, dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen, dr. Francesca Righetti
The program is developing a strong scientific reputation, as reflected in the quality of publications in outlets such as American Psychologist, Annual Review of Psychology, Academy of Management Review, Current Biology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Personality and Social Psychology Review and Psychological Bulletin.
The program leaders have published theoretically integrative books such as Bridging Social Psychology, a forthcoming “Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology” (Van Lange, Kruglanski & Higgins, 2011), Applying Social Psychology (Buunk & Van Vugt, 2008), and a trade book “Selected: Why Some People Lead, Why Others Follow and Why It Matters” (Van Vugt & Ahuja, 2010). Staff members have served in key editorial positions (including the flagship journal Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), NWO committees (Van Lange; Van Vugt) and program committees for major conferences (EAESP, SESP). For links to most of these books and publications, see Key Publications.
Also, staff members have given key notes at many conferences, and received awards (or nominations) for best papers (e.g., Homan won the best publication award at the Academy of Management). Our academic profile has been further strengthened by the recent appointment of Prof Roy Baumeister, an international expert on social interaction, culture, and self-regulation.
Some examples of academic achievements
NWO grants Pollet (VENI), Van Leeuwen/Van Vugt (Mozaiek), Van Prooijen (NWO-Program Conflict), and Van Lange (Replacement Grant) Appointments Roy Baumeister (Professor), David Amodio and Kip Williams (Affiliates) Articles Articles published in prestigious journals (e.g., Annual Review of Psychology, Psychological Bulletin) and journals that bridge social psychology with social neuroscience (e.g., Current Biology, NeuroImage, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) Associate editorships e.g., Paul van Lange and Mark van Vugt (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), Jan Willem van Prooijen (European Journal of Social Psychology), Reinout de Vries (Leadership Quarterly) Publications Publication of trade book on leadership (Mark van Vugt) and Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (Paul van Lange, Kruglanski & Higgins) PhD's Successful completion of many PhD's, including three with distinction "cum laude" (Lotte van Dillen, Anton Klapwijk, both in 2009; Francesca Righetti, in 2011)
Find in the list below journals and publishers mentioned above.
Annual Review of Psychology
Academy of Management Review
Cognition and Emotion
European Journal of Social Psychology
Journal of Applied Psychology
International Journal of Psychophysiology
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Personality and Social Psychology Review
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Grant-funded research projects
Members of the research program conduct research in partnership with or commissioned by national and international businesses, local and national governments, and NGO’s. There are currently several grant-funded research projects on topics such as:
- The Mixed Feelings of Bystanders (NSCR/VU)
- Theories of Social Psychology (N.W.O.)
- Beliefs about Selfishness (Finnish Academy of Science)
- Cooperation between Groups (Portugese Science Foundation)
- Personality and Leadership (funded by NOA)
- Evolutionary Organizational Psychology (funded by Economic and Social Research Council)
- Evolution of the Social Brain (British Academy)
- Environmental Sustainability (ESRC)
- Guilt and Self-control in Social Dilemmas (ESRC)
- Innovation (ETC)
Including prestigious competitive grants from NWO:
- VENI-grant: Righetti;
- 3x Mozaiek: €270,000; Van Dijk, 2007; Homan & Van Vugt, 2010; Van Leeuwen & Katharina Alvarez, 2011;
- replacement grant: €48,000; Van Lange, 2007;
- Postdoc: €165.000 Van Prooijen, Van Lange.
The department also obtained funding from:
- the Swiss Science Foundation (€125,000; Van Lange, 2006)
- the Finnish Cultural Foundation €18,000 (Van Lange, 2007)
- the ESRC (€50,000: Van Vugt, 2009)
- industry (for psychometric test development: Performance Coaching (€100,000; De Vries)
- NOA (€100,000; De Vries)
Recently TLC has attracted a NWO-VENI winner (€200,000; Pollet).
Members of the programme have been invited to present their work (e.g., on leadership, business, the environment, volunteering) at various national and local government departments (ministries and industry). Interventions based on our research have noticeably influenced policy-making in areas such as leadership assessment (through test development) and environmental management.
TLC research appears regularly in the national and international media (New Scientist, CNN, Times, NRC, Volkskrant). Visit the departmental website of Social and Organizational Psychology for news updates. We are contributing to popular websites such as Psychology Today (Van Vugt) and have written student and popular text on applying and bridging social psychology. See 'key publications'.
Recently TLC has attracted various external PhD’s, usually psychologists working in business/management background who want to further their academic career.