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Group Processes and Intergroup Relations


Admission requirements

MSc Psychology (research) students.


In the scientific literature, different theoretical perspectives on the same issue are often proposed, or different studies seem to yield contradictory results. In this course students will therefore learn how to systematically compare and integrate different theoretical perspectives on a selection of topics in group processes and intergroup relations.

With the course assignments and through discussions and presentations in the course meetings, students will gain an overview of classic work as well as more recent theoretical and empirical advances in the area of group processes and intergroup relations. The course meetings aim to provide more in-depth insight by asking students either to set up a debate between different competing perspectives, or to apply what they have learned about theory and previous research to analyse a concrete problem.

In this way students will learn how to integrate different scientific contributions and practice applying this knowledge to conduct a theory-based analysis of concrete problems. On the basis of relevant assigned reading and additional literature, written assignments, oral presentations, and work during the meeting students will thus not only learn about the content of different theoretical approaches and insights in the domain of group processes and intergroup relations, but will also learn to integrate these different insights and practice the analysis of societal or organisational problems in terms of their underlying psychological processes.

Course objectives

  • Students will acquire advanced knowledge of classic approaches and recent developments in theory and research on group processes and intergroup relations.

  • Students will learn how to systematically compare and combine different theoretical perspectives in examining a concrete problem.

  • Students will be taught how to analyse a specific problem in terms of its underlying psychological processes.

  • Students will practice in presenting theoretical debates and problem analyses orally and in written form.


Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (2012-2013):

Mode of instruction

Two main methods of instruction will be used during the course meetings. One way is by preparing and conducting a debate in which students will argue for different theoretical positions as a means to determine the extent to which different approaches are compatible or to specify the ways in which they are incompatible. The second way is by examining and systematically analysing a particular problem using different theoretical perspectives. During the course meetings students will present their position in the debate or their theoretical analysis, and receive feedback from the instructor as well as from the other participants in the course.

Assessment method

In order to successfully complete the course, students are expected to attend and actively participate in all meetings, and to complete all course assignments. Half of the final course grade will be determined by their performance during the course (quality of oral participation, grades for written assignments).

The other half of the final course grade is determined by the end paper, in which students have to provide:

  • a description of a selected problem

  • a description of one or more theoretical approaches relevant to that problem

  • a systematic analysis of the problem in terms of the selected theory (process analysis) which can be specified in a path model

  • the specification of a theory-based intervention that can be used to address the problem that is selected.
    After the final meeting, students have six weeks to complete and submit their end paper.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Hogg, M.A., & Abrams, D.A. (Eds.). (2003). Intergroup relations. Psychology Press.

  • Stangor, C. (Ed.). (2000). Stereotypes and prejudice. Psychology Press.

  • Additional reading and study materials will be made available through Blackboard.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Naomi Ellemers
Room: 2A29
Tel.: +31 (0)71 527 3706