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Theoretical Biology

Piet van den Berg

Contact info

Room: Linnaeusborg, 5172.0585

Phone: +31 (0)50 363 8094

Cell: +31 (0)6 41844347


Download CV pdf

Project: The evolutionary causes and consequences of personality differences in cooperative behaviour

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the forces that shape and maintain human social behavior over the generations. In my project, I have done simulation studies to investigate the genetic evolution of social behavior. Also, I have conducted a number of large-scale decision making experiments to investigate what mechanisms underlie cultural change in human social behavior. In these experiments, we have established that humans differ in their social learning strategies, and that those differences have consequences for the outcomes of social interactions. Throughout, I have collaborated with people from various fields, such as psychology and economics.


P. van den Berg, L. Molleman & F.J. Weissing (2015): Focus on the success of others leads to selfish behavior. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112:2912-2917, doi:10.1073/pnas.1417203112 pdf, supplement, press release, persbericht

L. Molleman, P. van den Berg & F.J. Weissing (2014): Consistent individual differences in human social learning strategies. Nature Comm. 5:3570, doi:10.1038/ncomms4570. pdf, supplement

P. van den Berg, T.W. Fawcett, A.P. Buunk & F.J. Weissing (2014): Conflict over resources generates conflict over mate choice: Reply to Smaldino & Newson. Evol. Human Behav. 35:157-159, doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.12.004 pdf

P. van den Berg, T.W. Fawcett, A.P. Buunk & F.J. Weissing (2013): The evolution of parent–offspring conflict over mate choice. Evol. Human Behav. 34, 405–411, doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.07.004. pdf, SI, media coverage

P. van den Berg, L. Molleman & F.J. Weissing (2012): The social costs of punishment. Behav. Brain Sci. 35, 42-43. pdf

T.W. Fawcett, P. van den Berg, F.J. Weissing, J.H. Park & A.P. Buunk (2010): Intergenerational conflict over grandparental investment. Behav. Brain Sci. 33, 23-24. pdf

R. Kümmerli, P. van den Berg, A.S. Griffin, S.A. West & A. Gardner (2010): Repression of competition favours cooperation: Experimental evidence from bacteria. J. Evol. Biol. 23, 699–706. pdf

P. van den Berg & F.J. Weissing (2015): Evolutionary game theory and personality. In: V. Zeigler-Hill, L.L.M. Welling & T.K. Shackelford (eds) Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology, in press. pdf

Other publications

P. van den Berg & T.W. Fawcett (2013): Evolution and bad boyfriends. The New York Times, 11 october 2013. pdf

Media coverage

Last modified:March 20, 2015 11:42