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

Ç Çınar, LW Wesseldijk, AK Karinen, P Jern & JM Tybur (2021) Sex differences in the genetic and environmental underpinnings of meat and plant preferences. Food Quality and Preference, 104421
TR Kupfer, MJ Sidari, BP Zietsch, P Jern, JM Tybur & LW Wesseldijk (2021) Why are some people more jealous than others? Genetic and environmental factors. Evolution and Human Behavior
P Perone, Ç Çınar, P D'ursi, LR Durmuşoğlu, V Lal & J Tybur (2021) Examining the effect of hunger on responses to pathogen cues and novel foods. Evolution and Human Behavior 42 (4), 371-3782
Ç Çınar, AK Karinen & JM Tybur (2021) The multidimensional nature of food neophobia. Appetite 162, 1051775
AK Karinen, JM Tybur & RE de Vries (2021) The disgust traits: Self–other agreement in pathogen, sexual, and moral disgust sensitivity and their independence from HEXACO personality.. Emotion
RE de Vries, LW Wesseldijk, AK Karinen, P Jern & JM Tybur (2021) Relations between HEXACO personality and ideology variables are mostly genetic in nature. European Journal of Personality, 089020702110140353
NJ Van Doesum, PAM Van Lange, JM Tybur, A Leal & E Van Dijk (2021) People from lower social classes elicit greater prosociality: Compassion and deservingness matter. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 13684302209820721
G Palomo-Vélez, JM Tybur & M van Vugt (2021) Is green the new sexy? Romantic of conspicuous conservation. Journal of Environmental Psychology 73, 1015309
A Karinen, L Wesseldijk, P Jern & JM Tybur (2021) Sex, drugs, and genes: Illuminating the moral condemnation of recreational drugs. PsyArXiv
JM Tybur (2021) Sexual Contact and Sexual Disgust. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 7357-7362
T Ji, JM Tybur & M van Vugt (2021) Gendered outgroup prejudice: An evolutionary threat management perspective on anti-immigrant bias. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 24 (1), 177-1922
JM Ackerman, JM Tybur & AD Blackwell (2020) What role does pathogen-avoidance psychology play in pandemics?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences18
W Tierney, JH Hardy III, CR Ebersole, K Leavitt, D Viganola, EG Clemente & ... (2020) Creative destruction in science. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161, 291-30915
JM Tybur, BC Jones, LM DeBruine, JM Ackerman & V Fasolt (2020) Preregistered Direct Replication of “Sick Body, Vigilant Mind: The Biological Immune System Activates the Behavioral Immune System”. Psychological science 31 (11), 1461-14696
TR Kupfer, Y Inbar & JM Tybur (2020) Reexamining the role of intent in moral judgements of purity violations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 91, 1040433
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 Psychology3
JM Tybur, D Lieberman, L Fan, TR Kupfer & RE de Vries (2020) Behavioral Immune Trade-Offs: Interpersonal Value Relaxes Social Pathogen Avoidance. Psychological Science, 095679762096001118
MB Petersen, JM Tybur & PA Stewart (2020) Disgust and political attitudes.. Politics & the Life Sciences 39 (2)2
JM Tybur & D Lieberman (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)5

View full list of publications on Google Scholar