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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 of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Photo by Milette Raats

The prize consists of a sum of €25,000 and is being awarded for his entire oeuvre. De Dreu’s research focuses on areas including conflict and cooperation in groups and creativity and innovation.

Social dimensions

Carsten de Dreu (1966) has carried out important studies of cooperation within and between groups, focusing on topics including conflict and conflict cultures and group decision making. One of the insights his research has produced is a better understanding of how negotiations between individuals in small groups can result in solutions that are more creative and beneficial for all. An important aspect here is that people’s behaviour cannot be explained just through the model of the homo economicus, but that a whole range of social dimensions are involved in cooperation and competition between individuals. 

Another aspect mentioned by the jury is that De Dreu also takes into account 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 efforts to promote innovation and effective decision making. His research has also helped dispel common misconceptions, such as that of oxytocin as the ‘love hormone’.

About Carsten de Dreu

De Dreu has been a full professor at the Department of Psychology of the University of Amsterdam since 1998. From 2015, he has been attached to the Center for Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making (CREED) of 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 hopes to give a new impulse to 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 UvA. He was a visiting lecturer at institutions including 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 an elected KNAW fellow and has received dozens of awards and prizes for his work.

Conference and award ceremony

The Academy has awarded the Dr Hendrik Muller Prize to a leading researcher in the field of behavioural and social sciences every two years since 1991. The prize is funded by the Stichting Hendrik Muller's Vaderlandsch Fonds. The award ceremony will take place on Monday afternoon, 14 December 2015, at the Academy’s Trippenhuis Building, as part of a conference organized by De Dreu on the theme of creativity. You are very welcome to attend this occasion. A programme will be made available on the KNAW website shortly.