dr. Florian van Leeuwen

dr. Florian van Leeuwen

Assistant Professor

TSB: Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
TSB: Department of Social Psychology


I am a social psychologists. My research includes three topics: disgust and prejudice, political violence, and precautions. See below for more details. 

My approach to research is evolutionary psychology. That is, I assume that the mind includes mechanisms that have been designed by natural selection to serve survival and reproduction. Biologically-informed conjectures about what our psychological mechanisms are designed to do, serve as a guide for discovering how the mind works.

I use quantitative research methods. I mostly use experiments (for example memory and reasoning tasks) and analysis of survey data.


Disgust and prejudice

People have motivations to avoid infection with pathogens and disgust plays a key role in such avoidance behavior. Does disgust influence broader social phenomena, such as outgroup prejudice and conformity?

Psychological factors underlying political violence

Political violence is a disruptive phenomenon and most explanations of it make assumptions about psychological processes. Together with Michael Bang Petersen and Henrikas Bartusevičius, we researched how political violence relates to psychological factors, such as status-seeking and inequality.

Beliefs and precautions

I work on the project “Understanding vaccination hesitancy” funded by the Herbert Simon Research Institute (with Mitchell Matthijssen, Mariëlle Cloin, Ien van de Goor, and Peter Achterberg). We research how people make decisions about vaccinations with the aim of helping people make better decisions about taking precautions.



I have substantial experience with interdisciplinary research. Over the last decade, I have worked together with anthropologists, political scientists, and sociologists. Together we can do better science.

Recent publications

  1. A multilab replication of the Induced-Compliance Paradigm of cognitiv…

    Vaidis, D. C., Sleegers, W. W. A., Leeuwen, F. V., DeMarree, K. G., Sætrevik, B., Ross, R. M., Schmidt, K., Protzko, J., Morvinski, C., Ghasemi, O., Roberts, A. J., Stone, J., Bran, A., Gourdon-Kanhukamwe, A., Gunsoy, C., Moussaoui, L. S., Smith, A. R., Nugier, A., Fayant, M.-P., ... Priolo, D. (2024). A multilab replication of the Induced-Compliance Paradigm of cognitive dissonance. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 7(1).
  2. Morality as cooperation, politics as conflict

    van Leeuwen, F., van Lissa, C. J., Papakonstantinou, T., Petersen, M. B., & Curry, O. S. (2024). Morality as cooperation, politics as conflict. Social Psychological Bulletin, 19, Article e10157. Advance online publication.
  3. Political repression motivates anti-government violence

    Bartusevicius, H., van Leeuwen, F., & Petersen, M. B. (2023). Political repression motivates anti-government violence. Royal Society Open Science, 10(6), Article 221227.
  4. Russia's attacks on civilians strengthen Ukrainian resistance

    Bartusevicius, H., van Leeuwen, F., Mazepus, H., Laustsen, L., & Tollefsen, A. F. (2023). Russia's attacks on civilians strengthen Ukrainian resistance. PNAS Nexus, 2(12), Article pgad386.
  5. Do cues of infectious disease shape people's affective responses to s…

    Ren, D., Wesselmann, E. D., Loh, W. W., van Beest, I., van Leeuwen, F., & Sleegers, W. W. A. (2023). Do cues of infectious disease shape people's affective responses to social exclusion? Emotion, 23(4), 997-1010.

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