Vrije Universiteit - or VU University
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Prof.dr. Paul A.M. van Lange
Background, New Grants, Recent Publications
Paul van Lange (1961) has been a Professor of Social Psychology at the VU since 2000 (and Special Professor at Leiden University from 1999-2008). He has published articles on topics closely linked to trust and human cooperation in journals such as Annual Review of Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Bulletin, and currently conducts research on topics such as (a) helping and altruism, (b) rewards and punishments, (c) aggression, hormones and sport, (d) norm violation and dishonesty, (e) social mindfulness, and (f) trust and misunderstanding in social dilemmas (see also recent publications below). Also, with various colleagues, he has edited or authored a number of books such as the Atlas of Interpersonal Situations (Cambridge, 2003), Bridging Social Psychology (Erlbaum, 2006), Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (Sage, 2012), and currently is completing or working on Social Dilemmas: The Psychology of Human Cooperation (Oxford), Power, Politics, and Paranoia (Cambridge), and How to Publish High Impact Research (American Psychological Association). He serves or has served various editorial roles (for, among others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science) and currently serves as President for the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Over the years, his research has been supported by various science foundations in the world, including The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the European Uninion, the private sector, and grants from science foundations in China, Finland, Germany, Portugal, and Switzerland. Since 2009, he serves as Chair for the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology and leader for the research program Trust, Leadership, and Cooperation.
New PhD students
Niels van Doesum has started a PhD-project entitled "Social mindfulness: When skill and motivation matter". This project is part of a Kurt Lewin Institute grant supported by the NWO.
Allen Grabo had started a PhD-project entitled "Charisma and leadership". This project is primarily supervised by Mark van Vugt, and part of a Willliam James Graduate School grant supported by NWO.
Junhui Wu (from Beijing Normal University) has started a new PhD-project entitled "Human prosociality in times of economic crisis". This project is co-supervised with Daniel Balliet, and supported by the Chinese Science Foundation.
Balliet D., & Van Lange, P. A. M. ( in press). Trust, conflict. and cooperation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Download here
Balliet, D. & Van Lange, P. A.M. (in press). Trust, punishment, and cooperation across 18 societies: A meta-analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Balliet, D., Mulder, L., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2011). Reward, punishment, and cooperation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 594-615.
This article demonstrates, using a meta-analytic approach involving nearly 200 effect sizes, that reward and punishment are both (about equally) effective in promoting cooperation in social dilemmas. But interestingly, and consistent with predictions from interdependence theory, the effectiveness of reward and punishment is greater to the extent that they involve cost to the person or institute/experimenter to administer them. As such, this meta-analysis underlines the communicative function of costly-helping for authorities and leaders when they seek to promote cooperation through reward and punishment.
Bocchiaro, P., Zimbardo, P. G., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). To defy or not to defy: An experimental study of the dynamics of disobedience and whistle-blowing. Social Influence, 7, 35-50. Download here
This article is a conceptual replication and extension of a classic study by Stanley Milgram. Using a new paradigm (approved by the ethical committee), this study shows that about 75% of the people obeyed the experimenter by telling a lie to recruit new participants (among their friends) for a study that is clearly unethical -- and quite aversive to those who participate. It also shows that nearly 10% blow the whisle, reporting the ethical committee of the experimenter's intent to conduct an unethical study. In another sample, we showed that only 4% believed that they would obey, and most of them think they would blow the whistle (64.5%). But even when predicting what their fellow studies would do, they tended to overestimate disobedience (44%, versus not even 15% in reality) and whistle-blowing (37% versus not even 10% in reality).
Parks, C. D., Joireman, J., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (in press). Cooperation, trust, and antagonism: How public goods are promoted. Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
This is a monograph that provides a timely yet theory-driven overview of research on cooperation, trust, and aggression. In addition to reviewing (some of) the literature for these themes, the monograph provides a relatively unique focus on what can be done to promote trust and cooperation, and to reduce antagonism.
Karremans, J. C., Heslenfeld, D. J., Van Dillen, L. F., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2011). Secure attachment partners attenuate neural responses to social exclusion: An fMRI investigation. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 81, 44-50.
This article shows that people have a hard time dealing with being socially excluded. We knew that this was true psychologically, but here we show that it even further neuroscientific evidence for that proposition. Most importantly, however, this study showed that reminders of their significant other (typically a close partner or friend) attenuates the detrimental effects of social exclusion even at the neurological level. It seems that simply seeing your close partner's name (or other attachment figure) can help you deal with experiences of social exclusion.
Reinders Folmer, C. P., Klapwijk, A., De Cremer, D.,& Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). One for all` What respresenting a group may do to us. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1047-1056. Download here
How do we approach social situations when we act on behalf of only our self, or on behalf of a small group? What does representing a group do to us, in particular what does it do to our mindset with which we approach social interactions? We examined what goals (Study 1) and expectations (Study 2) might be activated in this role, compared with the role of individual (no group) or mere member of a group. Our findings suggest that representative display a more competitive mindset, that is, a strong goal toward obtaining better outcomes than the other, and expecting that the other person likewise seeks to obtain better outcomes for himself or herself than for you. The paper briefly outlines some risks associated with acting on behalf of a group.
Van Bommel, M., Van Prooijen, J. W., Elffers, H., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). Be aware to care: Public self-awareness leads to a reversal of the bystander effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 926-930.
This article shows that the classic bystander effect can be reversed. An increasing number of observers (or bystanders) in the virtual world increases - and not decreases - the chances that people will intervene and actually provide help. This reversal of the classic bystander effect is explained in terms of considerations of public self-awareness and reputation. (The original bystander effect was often explained in terms of diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance - if nobody helps, it must be not very serious).
Van Prooijen, J. W., Stahl, T., Eek, D., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). Injustice for all or just for me: Social value orientation predicts responses to own and other's procedures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1247-1258.
This article shows that prosocials appreciate fairness in procedural justice much more than individualists and competitors do. In other words, individualists and competitors are focused on whether they receive voice or not, whereas prosocials also look at whether there is consistency across people in receiving voice or not - which means that they even might appreciate no voice, if it means no voice for all.
How do we respond to situations in which we are clearly overbenefitted relative to others? How do we respond to situations in which we clearly receive more than we deserve? This article argues that people will probably feel flabbergasted and inhibited as how to respond. We show that reminders of dishibition (for example, when they bring to mind examples of norm violation or assertiveness) makes people, prosocial people in particular, to be less pleased with outcomes that are very pleasant yet unfair.
Van der Meij, L., Almela, M., Hidalgo, V., Villada, C., IJzerman, H., Van Lange, P. A. M., & Salvador, A. (in press). Testosterone and cortisol release among Spanish soccer fans watching the 2010 World Cup Final. Plos One.
Van Lange, P. A. M. (2013). What we should expect from theories in social psychology: Truth, Abstraction, Progress, and Applicability as standards (TAPAS). Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 40-55.
What is it that we might expect from an ideal theory? This article advances a new model, which delineates Truth, Abstraction, Progress, and Applicability as Standards (TAPAS) for a good theory. After providing the rationale for TAPAS, this article evaluates several social psychological theories in terms of TAPAS, especially classic theories, and illustrates its utility with some more recent theoretical contributions of social psychology. This article concludes by outlining recommendations for effective theory construction and development, such as the utility of meta-analytic approaches for pursuing Truth, the utility of theory-oriented courses and journals for pursuing Abstraction, and the utility of adversarial collaboration for pursuing Progress, and reaching out to major personal or societal issues for pursuing Applicability.
Van Lange, P. A. M., Bekkers, R., Chirumbolo, A., & Leone, L. (2012). Are conservatives less likely to be prosocial than liberals? From games to ideology, political preferences and voting. European Journal of Personality, 26, 461-473.
This articles provides new evidence for the idea that political voting and preferences are fairly strongly linked to individual differences in prosocial, individualistic, and competitive orientation, as measured with a series of nine decomposed games - a simple task in which people allocate points to themselves and an hypothetical other. This is demonstrated in two studies conducted in Italy, including a longitudinal study, as well as in an eight-month longitudinal study using a sample that is assumed to be quite representative of the adult population in the Netherlands. Although various psychological variables help explain political preferences and ideology, this article reveals that liberals (those with left-wing orientations) are less selfish in orientation than conservatives (those with right-wing orientations).
Van Lange, P. A. M., Finkenauer, C., Popma, A., & Van Vugt, M. (2011). Electrodes as a social glue: Measuring heart rate promotes giving in the trust game. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 80, 246-250.
Van Lange, P. A. M., Joireman, J., Parks, C. D., & Van Dijk, E. (2013). The psychology of social dilemmas: A review. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 120, 125-141. Download here
This articles provides a review of the social dilemma literature, with a particular focus on the psychology of human cooperation. It provides a definition of social dilemmas, a historical perspective, and distinguishes between structural, psychological, and interactional approaches to cooperation. It concludes with some conclusions and outlining some new avenues for furture research.
Van Lange, P. A. M., Klapwijk,A., & Van Munster, L. (2011). How the shadow of the future might promote cooperation. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14, 857-870.
We know that people are more likely to behave cooperatively if they anticipate a future of interaction with others. There is even evidence among cleaner fish showing greater prosociality to the degree that they are more likely encounter the host fishin the future. This study suggests that this is effect among humans is primarily - and perhaps even excusively - a result of selfish motivation. It are individualists, and not prosocials who are already quite other-regarding, that turn to cooperation when anticipating a future of social interaction.
Van Lange, P. A. M., Schippers, M., & Balliet, D. (2011). Who volunteers in psychology experiments: An empirical review of prosocial motivation in volunteering. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 279-284.
This work shows that prosocials are more likely to volunteer in psychological experiments than do individualists and competitors (who are more selfregarding in orientation). A second study replicated these findings, but also showed a strong link between the frequency of prosocials, individualists and competitors in first-year students in psychology versus economics. Among psychology students, prosocials (57%) were the largerest group, followed by individualists (37%), and competitors were the smallest group (6%). In contrast, among economics students, individualists (47%) appeared to be largest, followed by prosocials (36%), and competitors (17%) were the smallest, albeit still sizeable. It is concluded that psychologists and economists might well rely on samples (from their participant pools) that may systematically differ in terms of motivation and beliefs that are associated with differences in prosociality, selfishness, and competition.
Vuolevi, J. H. K., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). Boundaries of reciprocity: Incompleteness of information undermines cooperation. Acta Psychologica, 141, 67-72.
This works shows that people tend to fill in missing information about other's behavior with their beliefs that most other people tend to pursue self-interest. Accordingly, this bias reveals that people tend to systematically expect too little other-regarding behavior from others, which in turn may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Two studies reveal that under incompleteness (versus completeness) of information, people indeed expect less cooperation from others, which in turn seems to account for their own tendency to behave less cooperatively. As such, this study provides initial evidence for the myth of self-interest.
Van Lange, P. A. M., Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E. T. (2011). Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology. Thousand Oaks, Ca, Sage. (Volumes 1 and 2).
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Prof.dr. Paul A.M. van Lange