Associate Professor

Daniel Balliet

Associate Professor

Phone: +31 (0) 20 598 2884
Room: MF-C570

Personal webpage


  • ERC Starting Grant: My most recent research is funded by the ERC starting grant titled “Releasing Prisoner’s of the Paradigm: Understanding Cooperation Across Contexts and in the Lab and Field”. Research on cooperation most often studies behavior in laboratory situations where people have common and objective knowledge about their interdependence with others. However, outside the lab people do not have this objective knowledge about their interdependence and instead people use cues in social interactions to infer their interdependence with others. This program of research will attempt to understand how people think about their interdependence with others and the importance this has in shaping social behavior, such as cooperation. I am developing a theory on these issues in collaboration with Joshua Tybur and Paul Van Lange. I plan to test several hypotheses derived from this theory in collaborating with two PhD students: Catherine Molho and Stijn Peperkoorn.  I will also hire an additional PhD student, who will start June, 2016.

  • Meta-Analytic Projects and Multi-Disciplinary Open Access Database: Much of my earlier work has used meta-analysis as a tool to test theory of human cooperation. My research team will continue to be involved with several meta-analytic projects. We are currently in the process of building a meta-analytic dataset that contains the entire history of laboratory research on human cooperation. Upon completion of the database, my research team will use the data to answer several important questions about human cooperation, such as (1) what explains cross-societal variation in cooperation, (2) how does variation in objective interdependence affect the ways people cooperate, and (3) how do certain research methods (e.g., participant payment and deception) affect study results on cooperation. We will establish an open access database that can be used by others to answer their own research questions. The database will form the foundation of a multi-disciplinary institution which will continually monitor and update the database with new research. This institution will empower researchers to conduct their own up-to-date meta-analyses on human cooperation and to facilitate comparing their own study results with the history of research on cooperation.

  • Cross-Societal Variation in Cooperation. I am currently collaborating with James Liu and Toshio Yamagishi in a large-scale cross-societal study that will examine several issues about variation in trust and cooperation across societies.


I obtained my B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (1999). After a two year hiatus in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, I completed my M.A. in Experimental Psychology at Humboldt State University (2004). Next, I worked with Jeff Joireman at Washington State University, where I obtained my PhD in Experimental Psychology (2007). My first academic position was an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University. After three wonderful years in Singapore, I transitioned to an Assistant Professor position at the VU University, Amsterdam. I have since been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the VU University and continue to work and live in the beautiful, vibrant city of Amsterdam.

Research interests

I am interested in understanding human cooperation. Cooperation can be defined as behavior that provides benefits to others. I am especially interested in how people cooperate in situations when cooperation is opposed to each person’s immediate self-interest, so called Social Dilemmas.


Amsterdam Cooperation Lab
Google Scholar
Social Psychology Network

Recent publications

C Molho & D Balliet (2019) Navigating Interdependent Social Situations. The Oxford Handbook of Psychological Situations
FH Gerpott, D Balliet, S Columbus, C Molho & RE de Vries (2018) How Do People Think About Interdependence? A Multidimensional Model of Subjective Outcome Interdependence.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology10
A Aktipis, L Cronk, J Alcock, JD Ayers, C Baciu, D Balliet, AM Boddy & ... (2018) Understanding cooperation through fitness interdependence. Nature Human Behaviour 2 (7), 4293
JM Tybur, C Molho & D Balliet (2018) Moralized Disgust versus Disgusting Immorality. The Moral Psychology of Disgust, 11
D Balliet, JM Tybur, J Wu, C Antonellis & PAM Van Lange (2018) Political Ideology, Trust, and Cooperation: In-group Favoritism among Republicans and Democrats during a US National Election. Journal of Conflict Resolution 62 (4), 797-8185
A Romano, D Balliet, T Yamagishi & JH Liu (2018) Reply to De Dreu: Shared partner nationality promotes ingroup favoritism in cooperation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (5), E846-E847
JL Pletzer, D Balliet, J Joireman, DM Kuhlman, SC Voelpel & ... (2018) Social Value Orientation, Expectations, and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: A Meta‐analysis. European Journal of Personality 32 (1), 62-8315
A Romano, D Balliet, T Yamagishi & JH Liu (2017) Parochial trust and cooperation across 17 societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (48), 12702-1270716
D Balliet, JM Tybur & PAM Van Lange (2017) Functional interdependence theory: An evolutionary account of social situations. Personality and Social Psychology Review 21 (4), 361-38835
A Romano & D Balliet (2017) Reciprocity Outperforms Conformity to Promote Cooperation. Psychological science 28 (10), 1490-15025
A Romano, D Balliet & J Wu (2017) Unbounded indirect reciprocity: Is reputation-based cooperation bounded by group membership?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 71, 59-678
J Wu, D Balliet, JM Tybur, S Arai, PAM Van Lange & T Yamagishi (2017) Life history strategy and human cooperation in economic games. Evolution and Human Behavior 38 (4), 496-5053
C Molho, JM Tybur, E Güler, D Balliet & W Hofmann (2017) Disgust and anger relate to different aggressive responses to moral violations. Psychological science 28 (5), 609-61916
J Wu, D Balliet & PAM Van Lange (2016) Reputation, gossip, and human cooperation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 10 (6), 350-36421
J Wu, D Balliet & PAM Van Lange (2016) Reputation management: Why and how gossip enhances generosity. Evolution and Human Behavior 37 (3), 193-20120
J Wu, D Balliet & PAM Van Lange (2016) Gossip versus punishment: The efficiency of reputation to promote and maintain cooperation. Scientific reports 6, 2391935
CKW De Dreu & D Balliet (2016) Intergroup competition may not be needed for shaping group cooperation and cultural group selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 392
J Wu, D Balliet & PAM Van Lange (2015) When does gossip promote generosity? Indirect reciprocity under the shadow of the future. Social Psychological and Personality Science 6 (8), 923-93020
F Righetti, D Balliet, M Visserman & W Hofmann (2015) Trust and the suppression of emotions during sacrifice in close relationships. Social Cognition 33 (5), 505-51912
DP Balliet & F Righetti (2015) On developing the study of social situations. European Journal of Personality 215 (29), 383-385

View full list of publications on Google Scholar