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Introduction to Psychology



Introduction to Psychology offers a representative and coherent overview of the entire discipline. It is representative because it constitutes a first acquaintance with the main currents and themes within psychology. The Introduction is coherent in that it introduces students to the different psychological subdisciplines whilst emphasizing their common elements rather than their differences and distinctions.

Course objectives

Basic knowledge of the historical developments that have contributed to what has become the academic discipline of psychology and of the main theories within the different branches of psychology, with an emphasis on how these are related.

Understanding of the way in which empirical research within psychology leads to the formation of theories; of the way in which psychological theories are tested via research; and of the practical applications of psychological theories.


Introduction to Psychology (2013-2014):



First-year students will automatically be registered for the course.


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.

Mode of instruction

Fifteen lectures and eight work group sessions


During the course 15 two-hour lectures will be given. Per lecture one or two chapters from the course textbook (Gray, see under Reading ) will be presented, and the lecturers will help students prepare for the examination by explaining, clarifying, and providing examples; they will also indicate what is essential and what is less important in terms of learning. Besides this, different and/or new perspectives will be discussed; current material will be provided; finally, topics will be explored in depth, or conversely, the psychological knowledge presented in the textbook will be placed in a wider context.

Work group sessions

An Introduction to Psychology work group consists of one instructor and a maximum of 24 students (two groups combined). With the exception of week 40 (the week of 3 October) and the examination week, work groups will meet every week, making eight meetings in all. Work group attendance is obligatory. In the work group sessions tutors will help students with their exam preparation. This does not mean that only examination material will be discussed: the intention 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.

During each work group meeting students will have to do a short test (essay questions), to test their basic knowledge (see course objective above) of the material in the chapters discussed. The first of these tests will be counted as a practice test; the results for the remaining seven will be converted to a grade for the work group meetings (for the exact calculation, see the Course Workbook). The instructors will assess the answers as ‘good’, ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. The work group grade will count for 30% of the final grade. Compensation for failing either the work group meetings or the examination is possible, on the condition that both grades (rounded off) are higher than 5.


The final examination consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, primarily testing the insight course objective as described above. Students can register for the final examination via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. For the examination students are required to study the course book by Gray 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 both students and teaching staff in the Psychology Bachelor’s programme. Students will receive feedback on the effectiveness of their study methods so far, and for staff the test grade will provide an indication of students’ progress until then. The test grade will not count towards the final grade for the course, which is calculated from the grades for the examination (70%) and the work group meetings (30%). The work group grade will be carried over to any examination resits.

Since 1 January 2006 the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has implemented the Ephorus system, for use by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud.


There is a Blackboard module for the course.


  • Gray, P. (2010), Psychology (6th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

  • To help students in their study of Gray’s book an Introduction to Psychology Course Book has been compiled. This contains study questions on important topics for each Gray 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 meetings. The study questions serve as guidelines for the weekly textbook chapter discussions. The workbook also contains more detailed information about the way in which the work group grade (see Mode of Instruction) is calculated, and how it contributes to the final grade. The workbook will be available as of August via Readeronline

If you are a member of the study association Labyrint you can purchase books at a reduced price via their study book service. Alternatively there are the academic book shops.

Contact information