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About usFaculty of Behavioural and Social SciencesEducation BSSMinor

Minor Psychology in Society

Code: MIPS15/30


Have you ever wondered about the influence of culture on psychological processes such as thinking and decision making? Would you like to learn more about the influence people have on each other and how behaviour change can be brought about? In the minor Psychology in Society you learn the theory underlying individual and interpersonal behaviour in a culturally diverse setting with instructors who have first-hand experience translating theory into policy and practice.

In this minor you will:
  • Gain knowledge and insight in the most important areas of psychology and learn to critically evaluate psychological claims in the press.
  • Learn about the processes and environmental factors that influence the functioning of individuals and groups in organizations.
  • Learn about the most important social psychological theories, the influence of culture on interpersonal behaviour, and how this knowledge can be applied to societal problems.

Students may opt for a minor of 15 ECTS or 30 ECTS. In both minors two courses are compulsory, Introduction to Psychological Theories and Research Methods critically considered. For the 15 EC minor one additional course from the list of 5 optional courses is required. Students who opt for the 30 ECTS minor have to choose 4 optional courses.


Vaknaam (Progress) code ECTS Verplicht/Keuze Periode
Research instruments critically considered PSMIN02 5 V semester I a
Introduction to Psychological Theories PSMIN11 5 V semester I a
The social psychology of communication PSMIN09 5 keuze semester I a
Traffic Psychology & Sustained Mobility PSMIN12 5 keuze semester I a
Psychology in the workplace PSMIN03 5 keuze semester I b
Human error PSMIN05 5 keuze semester I b
Social influence PSMIN07 5 keuze semester I b
Consumer and economic psychology PSMIN08 5 keuze semester I b

Research instruments critically considered


This required course provides an introduction to statistical and measurement problems through case studies. Students learn how to critically interpret research claims in terms of sampling problems, validity of measures and reliability of instruments. Special attention is paid to the use of instruments in cross-cultural research.

Introduction to Psychological Theories


This course provides an introduction to a wide range of psychological research including; behavioural, neurological, cognitive, clinical, cultural, developmental, evolutionary, and social psychology. The aim of introducing the multiple disciplines of psychology is to demonstrate that human behaviour needs to be understood and examined from many perspectives. The course is designed with non-psychology students in mind and also gives insight into how psychological research is carried out and applied. As such, understanding how psychological knowledge is generated helps students to critically assess popular beliefs about human emotions, thoughts, and behaviours.

The social psychology of communication


Communication is the essence of social behavior. Effective communication enables people to fulfill their physical and social needs and to accomplish things they could never do as an individual. This course covers phenomena such as cross-cultural communication, voice use and nonverbal communication, lying, language use, emotion expression and recognition, gossip and chatting, what we find to be normal and appropriate in communication, and communication trough new media. The course goes beyond what is said and also addresses why people communicate in certain ways. For evolutionary or other reasons, people may want support, they may want to influence others, or to affiliate with them. Prevention of miscommunication starts with proper understanding of such motives, by attending to non-verbal signals such as emotions, gestures and voice intonation and by realizing that people may try to deceive each other. Against this background, communication via the Internet is an interesting and contemporary phenomenon with social disadvantages as well as benefits. By giving descriptions of such social phenomena and by applying different theories, social psychology provides an inspiring account of phenomena we encounter every day.

Traffic Psychology & Sustained Mobility


This course has two central themes: 1. Behaviour in traffic and the effects of this behaviour on safety, and 2. Retention of mobility. Traffic psychology is rather broad in the sense that it covers issues such as drink driving, the influence of infrastructural measures on behaviour, and the risks of using electronic devices in traffic. Theories common in experimental, social, and neuropsychology are used to explain and predict this behaviour.
Examples of topics that will be dealt with are the role of mental workload in dealing with increased demands in and outside the vehicle, and the effectiveness of police enforcement, campaigns, and driver education. With regard to mobility, the importance of mobility for health is central. There are several factors that may interfere with the ability of being mobile in general and driving a car in particular. For example, intrinsic factors, such as arousal, fatigue, or visual perceptual skills, differ within and between individuals and have a substantial impact on multiple aspects of mobility. Moreover, severe medical conditions, including psychiatric illness (e.g. phobia) and neurological disorders (e.g. dementia) are associated with cognitive and emotional problems, and may reduce mobility and participation in traffic. In addition to intrinsic factors associated with the individual, there are also external factors that affect mobility and safety more temporarily, such as the use of legal and illegal drugs.
In this course students will acquire basic knowledge about traffic psychology and learn about the importance of mobility and factors influencing it.

Psychology in the workplace


Work, Organizational, and Personnel Psychology takes a three-pronged approach in understanding how personal, social, and environmental factors are related to people’s attitudes and performance in their work environment. The course will discuss, illustrate and critically evaluate these three main research streams (work, organizational, and personnel psychology). Specific topics include: 1) job and task performance, employee health and well-being (work), 2) employee motivation, leadership and power, as well as group processes, such as cooperation, conflict, and decision making (organizational), and 3) the design and consequences of human resource policies (personnel).

Human error


All too often the human is considered a hazard – a system component whose unsafe acts are crucial in the majority of catastrophes. However, this is a limited view on the matter, as people act within a system and most people do not wish to make errors or cause disasters. Moreover, there is another perspective that should be studied in its own right – the human as hero, whose adaptations and compensations bring troubled systems back from the brink of disaster. The basic premise of this course is that even when an accident can be traced to the erroneous act of an individual, the actions of the individual need to be understood within the context of environmental, societal, and organisational factors. This course provides an introduction to basic topics in work and cognitive psychology central to minimising human error. Topics such as designing work to maximise performance and health, work-related mental stress, and selection and training are accompanied by an introduction to techniques used to investigate and classify human error. Emphasis is given to institutional safeguards against error situations.

Social influence


Why do we always spend too much during sales? Why is “playing hard to get” such a great strategy to pick up a partner? Why do you sell ice-cream with a man in a speedo and insurances with a man in a business suit? How can you reduce rule transgressions by wearing gothic clothing? In this course you get an answer to these and many other questions. In this course you’ll learn how people’s beliefs, and actions are influenced by others. You will be introduced to various theories, principles and studies that give insight to how you can use people’s need for affiliation, accuracy and a positive self concept to persuade them. This interactive Social and Environmental psychology course is focused at both theory development and practical application.

Consumer and economic psychology


This module examines the psychological processes underlying economic and consumer behaviour and discusses individual, social and cultural factors that influence these processes. We discuss effects of information and experiences with products and services on affect (emotions), cognitions (beliefs and judgements) and behaviour (purchase decisions and consumption-related practices). You will learn when and why economic theories are often not accurate to explain everyday behaviour, and why individuals often do not make rational decisions. Among others, you will learn how consumer behaviour contributes to societal challenges such as overconsumption and environmental problems, and reflect on psychological theories and mechanisms that could be useful in addressing these problems.

We use a diversity of innovative teaching methods in this course aimed at making the lectures more interactive.

This course is very relevant for students who consider doing a master in Environmental Psychology.


Last modified:28 March 2019 12.20 p.m.
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