Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

Introduction to Psychology


Important Note

  • All Semester I bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester I courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

  • At this time it is not possible to provide information about Semester II (2020-2021).


No exemptions shall be granted for this course.

Entry requirements



Introduction to Psychology offers a representative and coherent overview of the discipline. ‘Representative’ because it constitutes a first acquaintance with the main currents and themes within psychology including neural, evolutionary, cognitive, social and developmental perspectives on human behavior; ‘coherent’ because it introduces students to the different psychological sub-disciplines emphasizing their common elements.

Course objectives

After completing Introduction to Psychology students are able to:

  • Compare and contrast main theories and concepts in the field;

  • Relate phenomena in everyday life to theories of human behavior and the mind, and, to key empirical studies in Psychology;

  • Explain how human behavior and the mind can be studied empirically; and

  • Explain how theories can be applied in practical and professional contexts.


For the timetables of your lectures, work group sessions, and exams, see the timetables page of your study programme. You will also find the enrolment codes here. Psychology timetables



First year psychology students are automatically enrolled for courses, but do need to register themselves for the exam.

Other students do not only need to register for exams themselves, but also for lectures and work group sessions. For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.

Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 15 2-hour lectures and 8 2-hour work group sessions.

Every lecture, the lecturers present 1 or 2 chapters from the course textbook (Gray and Bjorklund, see under ‘Reading’) and help students prepare for the examination by explaining, clarifying and providing examples. They also indicate what is essential learning and what is less important. Furthermore, the lecturers discuss different or new perspectives, provide current material and explore topics in depth, or conversely, place the psychological knowledge presented in the textbook in a wider context.

The work group sessions consists of one lecturer and a maximum of 26 students (2 tutorial groups combined). With the exception of week 40 (the week of 3 October) and the examination week, the work groups will meet every week, making 8 meetings in all. Attendance is mandatory. In the work group sessions the teachers help students prepare for the exam. This does not mean that only examination material will be discussed: the aim is also to explore topics in more depth and stimulate enthusiasm for the study of psychology. Students are expected to participate actively in these meetings.

At each session students complete a short test (essay questions) on their basic knowledge (see course objective above) of the material in the chapters discussed. The teachers award students ‘good’, ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ and this is score is converted to a mark for the work group sessions (for the exact calculation, see the Course Workbook).

Assessment method

The final examination consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, primarily testing the course objectives above. Students can register for the final examination via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the examination itself; students who have not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. For the examination students are required to study the course book by Gray and Bjorklund in its entirety, with the exception of the Statistical Appendix.

In week 40 students may take an online test comprising 30 multiple-choice questions, covering chapters 1-8 of the course book. This test is important for students and the teaching staff in the Bachelor’s programme in Psychology. Students receive feedback on the effectiveness of their study methods so far, and the students’ marks give staff an indication of student progress so far. The mark for this online mock exam will not count towards the final mark for the course, which comprises the mark for the examination (70%) and the work-group sessions (30%). Compensation for a fail for the work group or the examination is allowed, provided both marks are no lower than a 5.0. The work group mark will be carried over to any examination resits.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

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.

An Introduction to Psychology Course Book has been compiled to help students study Gray and Bjorklund’s book. This contains study questions on important topics for each chapter. In the workbook students will also find examples of exam questions and information on the video segments that are shown and discussed in the work group sessions. The study questions serve as guidelines for the weekly textbook chapter discussions. The workbook also contains more detailed information on how the work group mark (see Mode of Instruction) is calculated, and how it contributes to the final mark. The workbook will be available as of August on Blackboard.

Contact information

Dr. ir. Roy de Kleijn kleijnrde@fsw.leidenuniv.nl