Frank Van Overwalle

Our fourth speaker is Frank Van Overwalle! Frank Van Overwalle teaches at the faculty of Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He got his doctorate in 1987 with the topic “Causes for the success and failures of first year students”. Afterwards, he studied as a postdoc at the University of California and became a professor at the VUB. He applied his and others’ research for the development of neural network models of social cognition. In 2005, he went on to research social neurosciences with “real” brains. His work earned him many scholarships from his university and the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). Through social interactions, humans can make sophisticated judgements about others. They can work together, strengthen their group and avoid threats. The pressure to be in a group has created the social brain and the consciousness. Still, things can go wrong. The downside of people protecting their own group is that they exclude and judge others outside of it. A recently discovered part of the human brain, the small brain, can be partially responsible for our non-rational, subconscious prejudices and other deviations in social behavior.