nl en

Determinants of Human Behaviour


Admission requirements

This course is available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme and to a limited amount of external students.


This course deals with how people’s behaviour and well-being in the urban context are influenced by evolutionary, psychological, cognitive, physical and social factors. The course will provide a broad overview of human behaviour as individuals and in social contexts, with a focus on the interplay between individuals and their urban surroundings. Fundamental knowledge of the field of psychology will be discussed and applied to human behaviour in urban settings. Topics that we will discuss range from cognitive processes, such as perception and attention in way-finding in complex settings to the effects of urban stress on human performance and well-being. In addition, the course will focus on intervention techniques used in behavioural science to affect normative behaviour and improve a healthy life-style, such as persuasion and nudging.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to this course

Students will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of the evolutionary, cognitive, clinical, social and developmental underpinnings of human behaviour to analyse and understand current phenomena in everyday life in urban contexts, leading to insights with respect to, for example, day and night cycles in living and working, communication, crowding and noise, mental health and intergroup phenomena.

  • Express acquired knowledge and general understanding of the reciprocity between individuals and the social-cultural urban issues orally and in writing.

  • Express acquired knowledge and insights of theories on the determents of human behaviour orally and in writing.

  • Apply the acquired knowledge and insights of human behaviour theories to analyse, understand and comment on problems related to urban contexts.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Tutorial (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every tutorial session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a tutorial or lecture, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If they are absent from a tutorial without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Assessment method


  • Four work group assignments
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 15-19, 21-23, 25
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-2

  • Midterm exam
    Written examination with multiple choice and short open questions about the first half of the course, i.e. ca. 50% of the entire material of the course.
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1-2, 4, 19, 21
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-4

  • Final exam
    Written examination with multiple choice and short open questions about the second half of the course, i.e. the remaining 50% of the entire material of the course.
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1-2, 4, 19, 21
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-4


Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 40%
Final Exam 40%
Tutorial grade: four assignments 20%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade, Final Exam grade, and Tutorial grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.

  • This means that failing exam grades cannot be compensated with a high tutorial grade. Failure to attend at least 3 out of 4 tutorials leads to a grade of 1 for the tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or if (one or two of) the exam grades are lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking the written examination material, replacing the previous exam grade(s). No resit for the tutorial grade is possible.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

  • Gray, P. & Bjorklund, D.F. (2018), Psychology (8th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN-10: 1-319-15051-9 ISBN-13: 978-1-319-15051-8.

Readings for the first part of the course as well as information to help students study Gray and Bjorklund’s book in the second part of the course will be made available through Brightspace. Also through Brightspace examples of exam questions and study questions on important topics that serve as starters for tutorial discussions will be provided. Finally, and also through Brightspace, course regulations, such as detailed information on how the work group mark is calculated, and how it contributes to the final mark will be made available.


The programme’s administration office will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies


A limited amount of external students can follow this course as an elective course. To enroll, send an email to the Education Administration Office: