My main research interests are coalition formation, social exclusion, negotiation, emotions, and symptom attribution. The general theme of my research on coalition formation is that coalition behavior can only be truly understood when researchers take into account that self-interest is only part of the story. The other part is that fairness considerations determine whether a coalition is actually formed. This line of research is summarized in an overview article that introduces a social utility model of coalition formation (Van Beest & Van Dijk, 2007). A provocative finding in this line of research is that players rather form a fair coalition that does not maximize their individual payoff than an unfair coalition that does maximizes their individual payoffs.
Another major research line is social exclusion. Different than coalition formation this area does not focus on the choice of exclusion but on the consequences of exclusion. In my first attempt to investigate social exclusion I focused on the agents of exclusion. The main finding was that ignoring others leads to guilt and impaired cognitive abilities. This is an interesting finding because it suggests that exclusion may actually hurt the one who excludes. Subsequent studies focused more on the victims of exclusion. In a line of experiments I show that people are hurt when ostracized even when it is financial beneficial. In fact, just as much as when it is financially harmful (Van Beest & Williams, 2006).
Apart from coalition formation and social exclusion, I have always had an interest in how people that suffer from a severe disease attribute physical symptoms. A dominant theme in this research is that people are likely to attribute negative physical states to their illness even if this is objectively not the case. For example, children with asthma that are put under stress may misattribute their stress to having an asthma attack (Rietveld & Van Beest, 2006).
I. van Beest teaches the following subjects:
Room P 803
PO Box 90153
5000 LE Tilburg
Last amended: 12 August 2013