Assistant Professor

Richard Ronay

Assistant Professor

Phone: +31 (0) 20 598 3277
Room: 1B-21

Personal webpage


  • Organisational architecture: The forms, foundations, and functions of hierarchy
  • Self-deceptive overconfidence and leadership selection
  • A trapper’s guide to detecting overconfidence
  • Escalation of commitment in public and private contexts
  • The neural and cognitive foundations of fluid social intelligence
  • Costly signaling in the corporate arena


Richard Ronay received his PhD from the University of Queensland in Australia in 2010. After spending two years as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at Columbia Business School, he joined the VU in September of 2012 as Assistant Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology (tenured since 2016). He teaches courses in leadership and negotiations both within the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology and within the Faculty of Law at VU. His research explores issues related to leadership, negotiations, overconfidence, emotion regulation and behavioral flexibility, and the functions and dysfunctions of hierarchies for group coordination. A signature of his approach is to draw on and integrate multiple levels of analysis, including psychophysiology, behavioral observation, cognitive processes, as well as more traditional methods such as self and other reports. Much of this work is carried out in collaboration with organizations where Richard seeks to bridge the gap between science and practice.

Full CV here.

Research interests

  • Leadership and social hierarchy
  • Negotiations and conflict management
  • Decision making and risk taking
  • The neural and cognitive foundations of fluid social intelligence
  • Social neuroendocrinology


Recent publications

JK Oostrom, NC Köbis, R Ronay & M Cremers (2017) False consensus in situational judgment tests: What would others do?. Journal of Research in Personality 71, 33-45
R Ronay, JK Oostrom, N Lehmann-Willenbrock & M Van Vugt (2017) Pride before the fall:(Over) confidence predicts escalation of public commitment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 69, 13-22
KJ Jonas, J Cesario, M Alger, AH Bailey, D Bombari, D Carney & ... (2017) Power poses–where do we stand?. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology 2 (1), 139-141
R Ronay, JM Tybur, D van Huijstee & M Morssinkhof (2017) Embodied power, testosterone, and overconfidence as a causal pathway to risk-taking. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology 2 (1), 28-43
AP Salam, E Rainford, M van Vugt & R Ronay (2017) Acute Stress Reduces Perceived Trustworthiness of Male Racial Outgroup Faces. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 1-11
R Ronay & JM Tybur (2017) The wolf will live with the lamb. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40
W von Hippel, R Ronay & WW Maddux (2016) Of Baboons and Elephants. The Social Psychology of Morality, 289
W von Hippel, R Ronay & WW Maddux (2016) Of baboons and elephants: Inequality and the evolution of immoral leadership.. Psychology Press
W von Hippel, R Ronay, E Baker, K Kjelsaas & SC Murphy (2015) Quick Thinkers Are Smooth Talkers: Mental Speed Facilitates Charisma. Psychological Science
R Ronay & W von Hippel (2015) Sensitivity to changing contingencies predicts social success. Social Psychological and Personality Science 6 (1), 23-30
RI Swaab, M Schaerer, EM Anicich, R Ronay & AD Galinsky (2014) The too-much-talent effect: Team interdependence determines when more talent is too much or not enough. Psychological Science 25 (8), 1581-1591
TF Denson, C Dobson-Stone, R Ronay, W von Hippel & MM Schira (2014) A functional polymorphism of the MAOA gene is associated with neural responses to induced anger control. Journal of cognitive neuroscience 26 (7), 1418-1427
M van Vugt & R Ronay (2013) The evolutionary psychology of leadership: Theory, review, and roadmap. Organizational Psychology Review, 2041386613493635
FOM Kemp, R Ronay & JK Oostrom (2013) New Ways of Working and Organizational outcomes: The role of Psychological Capital. Masters Thesis). Available from innovatiefinwerk. nl via: http://www …
TF Denson, R Ronay, W von Hippel & MM Schira (2013) Endogenous testosterone and cortisol modulate neural responses during induced anger control. Social neuroscience 8 (2), 165-177
R Ronay & DR Carney (2013) Testosterone’s negative relationship with empathic accuracy and perceived leadership ability. Social Psychological and Personality Science 4 (1), 92-99
R Ronay, K Greenaway, EM Anicich & AD Galinsky (2012) The path to glory is paved with hierarchy: When hierarchical differentiation increases group effectiveness. Psychological science 23 (6), 669-677
R Ronay & AD Galinsky (2011) Lex talionis: Testosterone and the law of retaliation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47 (3), 702-705
R Ronay & W Von Hippel (2010) Power, testosterone, and risk‐taking. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 23 (5), 473-482
R Ronay (2010) Male Risk Taking as a Sexual Display Strategy: Proximal and Distal Explanations for Young Men's Risk Taking.

View full list of publications on Google Scholar