Associate Professor

Joshua Tybur

Associate Professor

Phone: +31(0)205983088
Room: MF-C570

Personal webpage


After completing my bachelor studies in social psychology at Arizona State University, I enrolled in the evolutionary psychology Ph.D. program at the University of New Mexico in 2004. The program offered an interdisciplinary training across the evolutionary behavioral sciences housed within anthropology, biology, and psychology departments. Then, after completing my Ph.D. in 2009, I worked as a postdoc in health psychology under the advisement of Angela Bryan. I started as Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at VU Amsterdam in 2011 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016. I teach courses on research methodology, statistics, and evolutionary approaches to human behavior. I currently serve as Associate Editor at Evolution and Human Behavior, the official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.


I am currently involved in a number of projects, many of which fall under the umbrella of a five-year ERC Starting Grant, which aims to test fundamental aspects of humans’ psychology of pathogen avoidance. A selection of these projects includes:
  • With Annika Karinen and Reinout de Vries: Testing accuracy in assessing others’ disgust sensitivity. Using a sample of approximately 300 dyads, this project applies self-other agreement methods from personality psychology to the study of disgust sensitivity.
  • With Annika Karinen, Catherine Molho, and Tom Kupfer: Testing whether perceptions of foreign norm adherence or close contact with locals underlies the relationship between pathogen-avoidance psychology and anti-immigrant sentiments. In this registered report, we experimentally manipulate descriptions of immigrants as either having close physical contact with locals (or not) and maintaining the norms of their home country (or not), and we test whether these experimental manipulations moderate the relationship between disgust sensitivity and anti-immigrant sentiments.
  • With Catherine Molho, Fan Lei, Tom Kupfer, Daniel Balliet, and Paul van Lange: Investigating how emotional responses (e.g., disgust versus anger) to anti-social behaviors are differentially associated with punishment tactics (e.g., direct versus indirect aggression). We are using multiple techniques to test this question, including daily diary assessments, online sampling, and laboratory testing.
  • With Cagla Cinar: Better understanding how food neophobia varies across meat and plant categories. We are using field studies, online experiments, and behavioral studies, in which participants complete self-report instruments and behavioral assessments (e.g., willingness to ingest edible insects).
  • With Cagla Cinar and Paola Perone: Testing hypotheses of prepared learning in evaluative conditioning. In these studies, we are using standard evaluative conditioning approaches in which images of conditioned stimuli are paired with positively- or negatively-valence unconditioned stimuli. We are testing whether disgust-eliciting unconditioned stimuli change assessments of foods differently than non-disgust-eliciting unconditioned stimuli do.
  • With Paola Perone and Cagla Cinar: Investigating the effects of hunger on reactions to pathogen cues. We are using within-participant methods to test whether fasting for 15 hours affects heart rate, skin conductance responses, and self-reports of emotion toward a variety of emotion-evoking stimuli.
  • With Florian van Leeuwen, Yoel Inbar, Michael Bang Peterson, and many other collaborators: Testing how pathogen avoidance motives relate to prejudice against gay men, lesbian women, and other sexual minorities. Using a sample of over 12,000 participants from 31 nations, we are examining how the data support different theoretical accounts aiming to explain the relationship between disgust sensitivity and antipathy toward gay men and lesbians.

Research interests

My research interests are described in detail here:


Google Scholar

Cognition, Behavior, Evolution Network

Recent publications

TR Kupfer, Y Inbar & JM Tybur (2020) Reexamining the role of intent in moral judgements of purity violations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 91, 104043
C Kandler, D Bratko, A Butković, TV Hlupić, JM Tybur, LW Wesseldijk & ... (2020) How genetic and environmental variance in personality traits shift across the life span: Evidence from a cross-national twin study.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
JM Tybur, D Lieberman, L Fan, TR Kupfer & RE de Vries (2020) Behavioral Immune Trade-Offs: Interpersonal Value Relaxes Social Pathogen Avoidance. Psychological Science, 09567976209600111
JM Tybur (2020) Considerations of the proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions of disgust will improve our understanding of cleansing effects. PsyArXiv
JM Tybur, C Molho, B Cakmak, TD Cruz, GD Singh & M Zwicker (2020) Disgust, anger, and aggression: further tests of the equivalence of moral emotions. Collabra: Psychology 6 (1)1
C Molho, JM Tybur, PAM Van Lange & D Balliet (2020) Direct and indirect punishment of norm violations in daily life. Nature communications 11 (1), 1-9
NM Blaker, BR Spisak, JM Tybur, M Kandrik & RD Arvey (2020) Cue masking and cultural signals: Testing context-specific preferences for bald (ing) leaders. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 88, 103936
P Perone, DV Becker & JM Tybur (2020) Visual disgust elicitors produce an attentional blink independent of contextual and trait-level pathogen avoidance.. Emotion1
NJ Van Doesum, RE de Vries, AAJ Blokland, JM Hill, DM Kuhlman & ... (2020) Social mindfulness: Prosocial the active way. The Journal of Positive Psychology 15 (2), 183-1937
JM Tybur, LW Wesseldijk & P Jern (2020) Genetic and environmental influences on disgust proneness, contamination sensitivity, and their covariance. Clinical Psychological Science, 21677026209515102
JM Tybur, BC Jones, L DeBruine, J Ackerman & V Fasolt (2020) Preregistered replication of “Sick body, vigilant mind: The biological immune system activates the behavioral immune system”. PsyArXiv1
F Righetti, J Tybur, P Van Lange, L Echelmeyer, S van Esveld, J Kroese & ... (2020) How reproductive hormonal changes affect relationship dynamics for women and men: A 15-day diary study. Biological Psychology 149, 1077842
T Ji, JM Tybur & M van Vugt (2019) Gendered outgroup prejudice: An evolutionary threat management perspective on anti-immigrant bias. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1368430219882489
JM Tybur & A Karinen (2019) Measurement and theory in disgust sensitivity. PsyArXiv4
AK Karinen, C Molho, TR Kupfer & JM Tybur (2019) Disgust sensitivity and opposition to immigration: Does contact avoidance or resistance to foreign norms explain the relationship?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 84, 10381712
T Ji, JM Tybur, M Kandrik, R Faure & M van Vugt (2019) Women's implicit bias against threatening male faces: The role of emotion, hormones, and group membership. Hormones and behavior 115, 104548
CE Ashton-James, JM Tybur, V Grießer & D Costa (2019) Stereotypes about surgeon warmth and competence: The role of surgeon gender. PloS one 14 (2), e02118906
T Ji, JM Tybur & M van Vugt (2019) Generalized or origin-specific out-group prejudice?: The role of temporary and chronic pathogen-avoidance motivation in intergroup relations. Evolutionary Psychology 17 (1), 147470491982685112
RA Klein, M Vianello, F Hasselman, BG Adams, RB Adams Jr, S Alper & ... (2018) Many Labs 2: Investigating variation in replicability across samples and settings. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science 1 (4), 443-490343
G Palomo-Vélez, JM Tybur & M Van Vugt (2018) Unsustainable, unhealthy, or disgusting? Comparing different persuasive messages against meat consumption. Journal of Environmental Psychology 58, 63-7110

View full list of publications on Google Scholar