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Psychology of Online Behavior: Response to Violence and Crises


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.
This course only offers a place to a maximum number of 40 students.


The internet and associated technologies have become an inextricable part of our daily life. We turn to cyberspace to meet new people, maintain connections, advance our education and career. Cybertechnology permeates all areas of our lives, from work to leisure. It is unsurprising that negative events, such as war, violence, and crises also find their reflection online. This course aims to: a) introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of studying human behavior in the cyberspace; b) equip students to engage critically with existing research on the subject; and c) enable them to apply theoretical knowledge to the development of real-life intervention and prevention projects addressing violence and critical events in the online world.

Course objectives

After completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • Understand and apply concepts of psychological science to the study of online behaviors in the context of violence and crises

  • Understand research methods used to explore human behavior online

  • Critically analyze and reflect upon existing research and its implications

  • Develop solutions targeting the consequences of violence and critical events online

  • Understand and reflect upon ethical issues associated with research and interventions development in the cyberspace


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace

Mode of instruction

This course consists of seven interactive sessions. Each session will include lectures, interactive discussions, and work in small groups.
These small groups (4 – 5 students) will be working on their group paper projects, focused on the development of a real-life application of the theoretical knowledge received in the course
Attendance is mandatory.

Total study load 140 hours:

  • 21 contact hours

  • 119 self-study hours: reading and other preparation for sessions, preparation of assignments

Assessment method

Assessment for this course is based on two assignments:

  • Group assignment, 30% of final grade
    Grade can be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50), resit not possible.

  • Individual Paper, 70% of final grade
    Grade cannot be compensated, a 5.5 is required to pass the course

Students are not obliged to hand in an assignment at the first opportunity in order to make use of the re-sit opportunity.
The re-sit assignment will test the same course objectives, but will be different in terms of topics, cases or substance.

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course.
Students are also permitted to resit the 70% assignment if they have a calculated overall course lower than 5.50.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 8 March 13.00h.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.


Olga Bogolyubova

Office hours by appointment