Fachbereich 8

Institut für Psychologie

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Das Fachgebiet Entwicklungspsychologie wird gegenwärtig neu besetzt. Der Ruf für die Professur ist an Dr. Maarten van Zalk gegangen, der diesen am 16. Mai angenommen hat. Herr Dr. van Zalk wird seine Tätigkeit im Fachgebiet Entwicklungspsychologie, des Instituts für Psychologie, im Fachbereich Humanwissenschaften, an der Universität Osnabrück, zum 01. Oktober diesen Jahres aufnehmen.

Bis dahin ist Herr Dr. M. van Zalk unter folgender E-Mail-Adresse zu kontaktieren:


Maarten van Zalk

Für mehr Information über Dr. Van Zalk und Seine heutige Position

RESEARCH (Forschung)

My research concerns three interrelated themes: intergroup relations, personality, and (anti-)social behavior. I use an interdisciplinary, developmental perspective throughout my studies, examining short- and long-term changes and stability in social, personality, hormonal, and behavioral processes. I coordinate and manage five ongoing large-scale longitudinal projects in twelve EU countries. I am passionate about moving experimental methods away from the controlled, laboratory settings to the messiness of everyday contexts, and using interdisciplinary methodologies to capture the complexity of real-life situations. The ongoing projects I currently coordinate range from longitudinal projects involving entire communities in which we collected observational, hormonal, experimental, and experience-sampling data, intensive laboratory experiments involving eye-tracking manipulations and neurological data, online experiments with several hundred thousand participants, to two large-scale experimental community interventions.  In my work on intergroup relations and personality, I focus on the question: Who is at risk for developing high levels of negative intergroup attitudes and behaviors, such as prejudice, and why? Prior empirical work on prejudice either focuses (a) on the malleability of prejudice through social influences (i.e., the social psychology approach), or (b) on the relative stability of prejudice (i.e., the personality approach). I combine these two approaches by studying how social influences on intra-individual processes (e.g., having a prejudiced friend may increase my prejudice) interact with inter-individual processes explained by personality traits (e.g., my susceptibility to develop higher levels of prejudice compared to others). To integrate these two approaches, I am working on further developing a dynamic social network approach that can study two intertwined processes: how do individual differences affect social choices (social selection), and how do these social choices, in turn, influence individual differences (social influence)?

Concerning (anti-)social behavior, I use a biosocial approach to examine how endocrinological development interacts with personality and social processes to influence criminal and aggressive behavior. A well-established, yet puzzling finding is that a surprisingly small group of adolescents - of around 5% of all adolescents- is, and stays, responsible for engaging in the vast majority of severe antisocial acts throughout their entire lives. Moreover, my own research shows that, contrary to what one might expect, these antisocial adolescents also show high popularity among peers, a range of prosocial behavior, and a capability to become leaders of (antisocial) peer networks, often targeting ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups. What interest me most is to understand the cogs and wheels behind these developments, or the questions of how and why adolescents with problematic personality traits get at the forefront of antisocial peer networks. Moreover, I use a distinct applied focus in my studies: I am convinced this field of research is ready to move away from survey measurements in convenience samples, or carefully controlled experiments, to applied fields of everyday complexities, and at times chaos, in high-risk samples. I work with the Departments for Education in the United Kingdom and Sweden to apply a series of experimental interventions targeting high-risk populations.

Finally, I am fascinated about working at the crossroad of where advanced statistical methodology meets multimethod data from concrete, everyday settings. Surprising and invigorating new insights can be gained from applying new methods to the complex reality of multimethod datasets. In particular, I have a keen interest in the further development of the social network approach called Stochastic Actor-Oriented Modeling (SAOM). The SAOM approach is particularly useful when studying social influence on prejudice, personality, and social behavior. I also work with a variety of longitudinal analytic techniques (e.g., Growth Mixture Modelling, Exponential Random Graph Modelling) and provide international courses on these and other advanced statistical techniques, for example at Oxford and Cambridge University, the UK.

Selected ongoing research projects:

• Positive and negative effects of intergroup contacts, e.g., the Open Research Area project "Positive-Negative Asymmetry of Intergroup Contact (PNAC): A Dynamic Approach" (project number: 265), in collaboration with the University of Oxford, Utrecht University and the Hagen University of Hagen

• Diversity and prejudice, e.g., the project "Diversity and Social Cohesion in Mixed and Segregated Secondary Schools in Oldham" concerning a series of experimental interventions, commissioned by the UK Department for Education

• Prejudice, social relations and personality, e.g., the project “Aggression Toward Minority Groups in Adolescence: A Biosocial Approach”, financed by the “Newton International Award” (project number: NF150557)

• Friendship networks and internalizing and externalizing problems, e.g., in the project “Online Social Networks, Intergroup Prejudice, and Psychopathic Personality Traits” (project number: 2014-023) financed by the National Bank of Sweden (Riksbanken Jubileumsfond)

• Social and personality processes and antisocial behavior among adolescents, e.g., the project "Processes that Buffer against Youth Mental Health Problems: A Longitudinal Experimental Approach" (project number: 2012-10609-21848-41), financed by the Swedish Research Counsel (FORMAS)


NOTE: Last name change from “Selfhout”to “Van Zalk” in 2009

  1. Geukes, K. van Zalk, M. H. W., & Back, M. D. (in press). Understanding Personality Development: An Integrative State Process Model. International Journal of Behavioral Development. 
  2. Humberg, S., Dufner, M., Schönbrodt, F. D., Geukes, K., Hutteman, R., van Zalk, M. H. W., Denissen, J. J. A., Nestler, S., & Back, M. D. (in press). Enhanced versus simply positive: A new condition-based regression analysis to disentangle effects of self-enhancement from effects of positivity of self-view. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 
  3. Khoreva, V. & Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2016). Antecedents of work engagement among high potential employees. Career Development International, 21, 459 - 476.
  4. Khoreva, V., Vaiman, V., Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2016). Talent managementpractice effectiveness: investigating employee perspective, Employee Relations, 39, 19 - 33.
  5. Wölfer, R. & Van Zalk, M.H.W., Schmid, K., & Hewstone, M. (2016). Developmental Dynamics of Intergroup Contact and Intergroup Attitudes: Long-Term Effects in Adolescence and Early Adulthood. Child Development, 87, 1466–1478. 
  6. Abdelzadeh, A., Öydemir, M., & Van Zalk, M. H. W. (2015). Dissatisfied Citizens: An Asset to or a Liability on the Democratic Functioning of Society? Scandinavian Political Studies, 38, 410-436. doi: 10.1111/1467-9477.12051
  7. Van Zalk, M.H.W. & Van Zalk, N.  (2015) Violent peer influence: The roles of self-esteem and psychopathic traits. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 1077-1088. doi: 10.1017/S0954579415000693.
  8. Van Zalk, N. & Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2015). The Importance of Perceived Care and Connectedness with Friends and Parents for Adolescent Social Anxiety. Journal of Personality, 83, 346-360.
  9. Van Zalk, M.H.W. & Denissen, J. (2015). Idiosyncratic Versus Social Consensus Approaches to Personality: Self-View, Perceived, and Peer-View Similarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 109, 121-141. 
  10. Dahl, B.V. & Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2014). Peer networks and the development of illegal political behavior among adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24, 399–409.
  11. Van Zalk, M.H.W. & Kerr, M. (2014). Developmental Trajectories of Prejudice and Tolerance Toward Immigrants from Early to Late Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1658-1671.
  12. Veenstra, R., Dijkstra, J.K., Steglich, C., & Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2013). Network-behavior dynamics. Special Issue of the Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23, 399-412.
  13. Van Zalk, M.H.W., Kerr, M., Van Zalk, N. & Stattin, H. (2013). Xenophobia and Tolerance in Adolescence: Cross-Influence Processes in Friendships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 627-639.
  14. Dufner, M., Denissen, J. J. A., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Matthes, B., Meeus, W. H. J., van Aken, M. A. G., & Sedikides, C. (2012). Positive intelligence illusions: On the relation between intellectual selfenhancement and psychological adjustment. Journal of Personality, 80, 537-572.
  15. Kerr, M., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Stattin, H. (2012). Psychopathic Traits Moderate Peer Influence on Delinquency. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 826-835.
  16. Deuling, J., Denissen, J., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Meeus, W., and Van Aken, M. (2011). Perceived influence in groups over time: how associations with personality and cognitive ability can change over time. Journal of Research in Adolescence, 45, 576-585.
  17. Van Zalk, M.H.W., Branje, S., Denissen, J. J. A., Van Aken, M. A. G., & Meeus, W. (2011). Who benefits from chatting, and why? The roles of extraversion and supportiveness in online chatting and emotional adjustment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1202-1215.
  18. Van Zalk, N., Kerr, M., Van Zalk, M.H.W. & Stattin, H. (2011). Socialization of Social Anxiety in Adolescent Crowds. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 1239-1249.
  19. Denissen, J., Schönbrodt, F., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Van Aken, M., Meeus, W. (2011). Antecedents and consequences of peer-rated intelligence. European Journal of Personality, 25, 108–119.
  20. Van Zalk, N., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Kerr, M. & Stattin, H. (2011). Social Anxiety as Basis for Friendship Selection and Socialization in a Youth Social Network. Journal of Personality, 29, 499-525.
  21. Denissen, J., Neumann, L., Van Zalk, M.H.W. (2011). How the internet is changing the implementation of traditional research methods, people's daily lives, and the way in which developmental scientists conduct research. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 34, 564-575.
  22. Ter Bogt, T., Christenson, P., Van Zalk, M.H.W., Delsing, M., Meeus, W. (2011). Intergenerational continuity of taste: The relationship between parental and adolescent music preferences. Social Forces, 90, 297-319.
  23. Van Zalk, M.H.W., Kerr, M.. Branje, S., & Stattin, H. (2010). Peer Contagion and Adolescent Depression: The Role of Failure Anticipation. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39, 837-848.
  24. Van Zalk, M.H.W., Branje, S. Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2010). It Takes Three: Selection, Influence, and Deselection Processes of Depression in Adolescent Peer Networks. Developmental Psychology, 46, 927-938.
  25. Selfhout, M.H.W., Burk, W., Branje, S., Denissen, J. J. A., Van Aken, M. A. G., & Meeus, W. (2010). Emerging late adolescent friendship networks and Big Five personality traits: A social network perspective. Journal of Personality, 78, 509-538.
  26. Selfhout, M.H.W., Denissen, J., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2009). In the eye of the beholder: Perceived, actual, and peer-rated similarity in personality, communication, and friendship intensity during the acquaintanceship process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1152-1165.
  27. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., Ter Bogt, T., Delsing, M., & Meeus, W. (2009). Different types of Internet use, depression, and social anxiety: The role of perceived friendship quality. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 819-833.
  28. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2009). Developmental trajectories of perceived friendship intimacy, constructive problem solving, and depression from early to late adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 251-264.
  29. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., Ter Bogt, T., & Meeus, W. (2009). The role of music preferences in the formation and stability of friendships. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 95–107.
  30. Mulder, J., Klugkist, I., van de Schoot, R., Meeus, W., Selfhout, M.H.W., & Hoijtink, H. (2009). Bayesian model selection of informative hypotheses for repeated measurements. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 53, 530-546.
  31. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2008). The development of delinquency and perceived friendship quality in friendship pairs. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 471-485.
  32. Denissen, J., Geenen, R., Selfhout, M.H.W., & Van Aken, M. (2008). Single-item Big Five ratings in a social network design. European Journal of Personality, 22, 37-54.
  33. Selfhout, M.H.W., Delsing, M., Meeus W., & Ter Bogt, T. (2008). Heavy metal and hip-hop style preferences and externalizing problem behavior: A two-wave longitudinal study. Youth & Society, 39, 435-452.
  34. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., Raaijmakers, Q., & Meeus, W. (2008). Similarity in adolescent friendships: the role of gender. Netherlands Journal of Psychology, 63, 50-57.

National Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2008). Surfen, chatten en internaliserende problemen: De rol van kwaliteit van vriendschap [Surfing, chatting, and internalizing problems: the role of friendship quality]. Kind en Adolescent, 28, 80-93.
  2. Selfhout, M.H.W., Branje, S., Ter Bogt, T., & Meeus, W. (2008). De rol van muziekvoorkeuren in vriendschappen [The role of music preferences in friendships]. Pedagogiek, 28, 99-113.

Monographs and Bookchapters

Geukes, K., van Zalk, M. H. W., & Back, M. D. (in press). Analyzing Processes in Personality Development. In J. Specht (Ed.). Personality development across the lifespan (pp. xx-xx). San Diego: Elsevier. 


Selfhout, M. (2009). Friendships in adolescence: Me, myself, and you. Germany, Frankfurt: Lambert Academic Publishing.