The Cognition, Behavior & Evolution Network in the Low Countries

The Cognition, Behavior & Evolution Network (CBEN) unites scholars working in the fields of evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, human biology, primatology, and cultural evolution.

The aim of CBEN is to facilitate research and education in relation to the evolution of cognition and behavior. Its basis is in the Netherlands and Belgium but we invite scholars from other countries to join us.


PLACE: School of Business and Economics (Maastricht University, Netherlands)
DATE: 24 & 25 October 2024
(with a pre-conference on October 23)

For this year’s CBEN and MVE joint meeting, we are excited to invite you to Maastricht. We would like this to be a meeting where scholars from a broad range of disciplines share their work at the interface of cognition, decision-making, behavior, and evolution. The 2024 meeting will be a joint meeting with CBEN’s German sister network MVE. 2024 marks CBEN’s 10th and MVE’s 25th anniversary, making this a ‘doubly special’ occasion. Moreover, we prefix the meeting with a pre-conference on Wednesday, October 23, honoring Eckart Voland‘s 75th birthday.

The theme for 2024 will explore economic, psychological, and biological perspectives on the ‘dark’ sides of behavior, such as exploitation, violence, discrimination, criminal and antisocial behavior, conflict and war. How come that we as humans are those social animals that became uniquely cooperative, cultural, and civilized? How come that, at the exact same time, we are our own worst enemy, dehumanizing, subjugating, exploiting, and aggressing each other? And, most importantly: How can we prevent the conflicting interests permeating all human societies from escalating into segregation, suppression, violence, and war? These and related questions shape the program and will be addressed by the plenary speakers.

Plenary speakers

Additionally, two special guest speakers have agreed to give talks at the pre-conference in honor of Eckart Voland’s 75th birthday on Wednesday, October 23:

  • Judith Burkart (Evolutionary Cognition Group, University of Zurich)
  • Lars Penke (Biological Personality Psychology Group, Georg August University Göttingen)

For this year’s meeting, we particularly welcome submissions for presentations related to the meeting’s theme; nonetheless, presentations on other topics that fall into CBEN’s and MVE’s broader scope are very welcome, too. We encourage submissions that use empirical approaches, mathematical modeling, agent-based simulations, or a combination of these. The meeting will offer an excellent opportunity for researchers who share these interests (including PhD candidates and postdocs) to present their work and network with one another in a stimulating and relaxed atmosphere. While CBEN has been brought to life with the aim to strengthen the local community of Dutch and Belgian researchers working in these areas, we warmly invite scholars from other countries to join us as well.

Abstract submission

The deadline for submitting your abstract to the CBEN & MVE 2024 joint meeting has passed. For urgent requests, please contact the organizers.


We will notify you about the acceptance of submissions and open the registration on July 29.

New Investigator Award

At this year’s CBEN & MVE joint meeting we will honour a promising early-career researcher with the CBEN New Investigator Award. To be eligible, nominees must have attended at least one CBEN conference before 2024 and should be current PhD candidates or have obtained their PhD within the last seven years. If you meet the requirements and would like to be considered for the NIA, you can indicate your interest and submit your CV (including a list of publications) via the abstract submission form.


The conference will take place at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) in Maastricht (Tongersestraat 53, 6211 LM Maastricht, Netherlands).

The venue is a 25-minute walk from Maastricht Central Train Station and close to the historical center of the city, with various options for accommodation in the surrounding area.

We plan to arrange discounts for conference participants at hotels in Maastricht, all within walking distance of the conference venue. These discounts will be shared via email and on this website when registration opens.


For questions or additional information, please contact the organizers at


Hannes Rusch and Lennart Reddmann, with invaluable support from Elke Lucas.


We are grateful for generous funding by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), the Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) of Maastricht University, and the University Fund Limburg (SWOL).

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