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Psychology and Science


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

Entry requirements



In this course we will train 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. In doing so, we will pay considerable attention 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. Finally, we will discuss examples of fraud in science and ethical considerations concerning participation in experiments, and how such cases have changed the field of psychology.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student can:

  1. Relate the main theories on the nature of scientific knowledge
  2. Characterise the way in which views on science has developed in the course of history
  3. Evaluate the main forms of reasoning used within and outside science.
  4. Analyse types of logical reasoning
  5. Discriminate different modes of persuasion
  6. Identify factors that have contributed to the development of Open Science methods in psychological research
  7. Describe how psychological research is viewed from a philosophy of science point of view


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



First-year bachelor students are assigned and registered for all components in the first 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. All other students (excl. minor and exchange) 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.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. Don’t forget! For more information, see the enrolment procedure.
You cannot take an exam without a valid registration 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

Seven two-hour lectures and four two-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 selected chapters of ‘Critical Thinking’ (to be purchased by the student). This material will be practiced in the work group sessions, guided by a workbook with practice assignments. 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 at the work group sessions is mandatory. See Brightspace for more information.

Assessment method

The course material will be examined with a multiple choice (MC) exam and open questions that have to be answered during the work group sessions. The MC exam consists of 40 questions and weighs for 70% in the final grade; the WG grade for 30 %. However, for each (MC exam and final result of practice course) a minimum result of a 5 must be obtained. The calculation of the WG grade is described in the syllabus. The materials to be studied for the examination consist of chapters from the reading list (books) and lecture material (slides and explanation, also provided on BrightSpace).

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation. 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. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these two 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