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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Themes

Optimizing performance in work, education, and sports


How can we help people to perform well and to develop their talents in work, education, and sports?

This problem is addressed by our researchers from a broad variety of perspectives, each with their specific questions. For example, how can teachers elicit talented behaviours in the classroom? Do people perform better when focusing on improving themselves or on outperforming others? Why can innovation be difficult to achieve in organizations, even though people value creativity? Which psychological factors explain why some athletes make it whereas others do not? Can computer games boost employees’ creativity or goal achievement?

To study these and other questions, the department has collaborations with major societal partners, such as FC Groningen, the Royal Netherlands Soccer Association, the special forces of the Royal Netherlands Army, and different schools and companies throughout The Netherlands. Consistent with the university-wide research theme of healthy ageing, we are one of the national expert groups on the psychology of successful aging at work. In sports, we are among the few Dutch universities with a recognized expertise in sport - and performance psychology.

The combination of fundamental and applied research strengthens our contribution to both science and society. For example, over the years, the scientific “Groningen approach” to talent development and creativity in education has been implemented in teaching curricula at various Dutch schools (see our ‘Psychology in action’ section for this topic). We are also actively involved in the development of tests and tools to predict performance in the contexts of education, work, and sports.

Involved research units: Developmental Psychology, Environmental Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Organisational Psychology, Psychometrics and Statistics

Involved master tracks: Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology, Developmental Psychology (in Dutch), Environmental Psychology, Talent Development and Creativity, Traffic Psychology and Sustained Mobility, Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Research master Behavioural and Social Sciences (domain: Lifespan Development and Socialization)

Last modified:13 February 2023 11.43 a.m.
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