Carsten de Dreu

Carsten de Dreu, professor of Organisational Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, has been awarded the Dr Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Sciences 2015 by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The prize is being awarded for his entire oeuvre. De Dreu’s research interests include conflict and cooperation in groups and creativity and innovation.

Carsten de Dreu (born in 1966) has carried out important studies of cooperation within and between groups, focusing on such topics as conflict and conflict cultures and group decision-making. His research has led to a better understanding of how negotiations between individuals in small groups can result in more creative solutions of greater benefit to all. One significant factor is that people do not operate solely according to the homo economicus model of human behaviour; rather, cooperation and competition between individuals involve a wide range of social dimensions.

The jury further noted that De Dreu also allows for the role played by neurobiological factors, adding considerable depth and precision to our understanding of what determines and changes social behaviour. His work has great practical significance for the composition of teams and for efforts to promote innovation and effective decision-making. His research has also helped dispel common misconceptions, for example that oxytocin functions as a ‘love hormone’.

About the laureate

De Dreu has been a full professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Psychology since 1998. From 2015, he has been associated with the Center for Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making (CREED) at the same university. This academic year he is taking up a fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW) in Wassenaar, where he will continue his recent research on creativity and innovation.

After studying and earning his doctorate in Psychology at the University of Groningen (RUG), De Dreu worked at the university of Louvain-la-Neuve, the RUG and the University of  Amsterdam. He was a visiting lecturer at Yale, Carnegie Mellon University, and the universities of Granada and Leiden. Carsten de Dreu was president of the European Association for Social Psychology from 2008 to 2011, is a member of the Royal Academy, and has received dozens of awards and prizes for his work.