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Psychology and Science


Students of the Dutch bachelor’s programme, see Psychologie en Wetenschap

Entry requirements



This course trains the student in the basis of critical thinking. We will investigate how scientific knowledge comes about, and how logic plays a role, in- and outside of science, to generate new knowledge. Considerable attention is also paid to the various reasoning errors (fallacies) that may occur, and the different ways in which people try to convince others. We discuss the classical philosophy of science, and how psychology has evolved, and continues to evolve, as a scientific discipline. Attention is also given to examples of fraud in science and ethical considerations concerning participation in experiments.

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
1. Knowledge and understanding of the main ideas on the nature of scientific knowledge, and the way in which science has developed in the course of history.
2. Knowledge of the main forms of reasoning used within science and beyond. This also prepares for the profession of researcher (and beyond) because forms of reasoning play a crucial part in this profession.
3. Applying and understanding of basic skills in analysing and understanding types of logical reasoning, and the errors (fallacies) that may occur, in combination with skill in recognising different methods of persuasion (rhetoric). This prepares for the profession of researcher, but also for general discussions outside academia, in which the application of forms of reasoning and the ability to recognize fallacies plays a crucial part.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course. The exception here is that first-year bachelor students are assigned and registered for all components in the first semester or academic year by the administration of their bachelor programme. The programme will communicate to these students for which course components and for which period the registration applies.


It is mandatory for all students, including first-year bachelor students, to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

Eight 2-hour lectures and four 2-hour work group sessions. During the lectures the philosophy of science, logic, fallacies and rhetoric, critical thinking, and scientific conduct will be covered, based on the ‘Chapters on Philosophy of Science and Logic', which will be shared on BrightSpace, and chapters of parts of ‘Critical Thinking’ (to be purchased by the student). This material will be practiced in the work group sessions, guided by a work book. A work group consists of one instructor and a maximum of 24 students (two tutorial groups combined). Work groups meet weekly on four occasions. This means each student attends four sessions in total. Attendance is mandatory.

Assessment method

The course material will be examined with a multiple choice (MC) exam and open questions that have to be answered during the practice sessions. This holds for course objectives 1 and 2. Course objective 3 is also tested with open questions that have to be answered during the practice sessions. The materials to be studied for the examination consist of chapters from the reading list (books) and lecture material, as assigned by the instructor. The examination consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. The grade for the work group sessions is included in the calculation of the final grade. The calculation of the final grade is described in the course workbook. The MC exam weighs for 70% and the practice course weighs for 30% in the overall grade. However, for each (MC exam and final result of practice course) a minimum result of a 5 must be obtained.

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

Prof. F. van der Velde. Chapters on Philosophy of Science and Logic. Available on Brightspace.

A selection of chapters from:
Moore, B. N. & Parker, R. (2021). Critical Thinking (13th edition). McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-1-260-57069-4.
Course work book for the work group sessions: Available on Brightspace.

Contact information

Dr. Z. Sjoerds and Dr. S. Uithol