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Social Judgment and Decision Making


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students


This course provides an overview of findings in (social) psychological research on social judgment and decision-making. We will review work regarding diverse topics, including emotions and decision making, affective forecasting, power and consumption, morality, and punishment. In the meetings students will present empirical papers on one of the topics, which will be followed by a discussion. On the basis of the seminar meetings and relevant readings, students will develop two research proposals, in which they have to provide a specified research question, hypotheses with rationale based on literature reviews, and a proposed research design to test their hypotheses.

Course objectives

During the course, students:

  • Gain specialized knowledge of theories, concepts, methods, and research findings central to the study of social judgment and decision making;

  • Acquire knowledge and skills to develop and write a scientific research proposal; and

  • Enhance their research skills to conduct scientific research both in and outside the university.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables




Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s 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

The course consists of 9 3-hour work group sessions (attendance of all work group sessions is mandatory; no web-lectures available).

Assessment method

The final grade is based on: 3 rated presentations (40%), 4 written assignments (20%), and 2 research proposals (40%).

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerningfraud.

Reading list

  • Brosnan, S. F. & de Waal, F. B. M. (2003). Monkeys reject unequal pay. Nature, 424, 297-299.

  • De Waal, F. B. M. & Berger, L. M. (2000). Payment for labour in monkeys. Nature, 404, 563.

  • Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2002). Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature, 415, 137-140.

  • Gilbert, D. T., Lieberman, M. D., Morewedge, C. K., & Wilson, T. D. (2004). The peculiar longevity of things not so bad. Psychological Science, 15, 14–19.

  • Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108, 814-834.

  • Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., Valdesole, P., & Kassam, K. S. (2015). Emotion and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 799–823.

  • Lerner, J. S., Small, D. A., & Loewenstein, G. (2004). Heart strings and purse strings: Carry-over effects of emotions on economic decisions. Psychological Science, 15, 337–341.

  • Levine, L. J., Lench, H.C., Kaplan, R. L., & Safer, M. A. (2012). Accuracy and artifact: Reexamining the intensity bias in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 585–605.

  • Molenmaker W. E., De Kwaadsteniet E. W., & Van Dijk E. (2014), On the willingness to costly reward cooperation and punish non-cooperation: The moderating role of type of social dilemma, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 125, 175-183.

  • Mooijman M, Van Dijk W. W., Ellemers N., & Van Dijk E. (2015), Why leaders punish: A power perspective, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 75-89.

  • Mooijman, M. & Van Dijk, W. W. (2015). Increasing the acceptance of the unacceptable: How self-affirmation affects the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboos. Cognition and Emotion, 29, 1326-1334.

  • Rand, D. G., Greene, J. D., Nowak, M. A. (2012). Spontaneous giving and calculated greed. Nature, 489, 427-430.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Desire to Acquire: Powerlessness and Compensatory Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 257–267.

  • Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2009). Conspicuous consumption versus utilitarian ideals: How different levels of power shape consumption. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 549–555.

  • Rucker, D. D., Galinsky, A. D., & Dubois, D. (2012). Power and consumer behavior: How power shapes who and what consumers value. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22, 352–368.

  • Seip E. C., Van Dijk W. W. & Rotteveel M. (2014), Anger motivates costly punishment of unfair behavior, Motivation and Emotion, 38, 578-588.

  • Shariff, A. F., Greene, J. D., Karremans, J. C., Luguri, J. B., Clark, C. J., Schooler, J. W., Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2014). Free will and punishment: A mechanistic view of human nature reduces retribution. Psychological Science, 25, 1563-1570.

  • Sivanathan, N., & Pettit, N. C. (2010). Protecting the self through consumption: Status goods as affirmational commodities. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 564–570.

  • Small, D. A., & Lerner, J. S. (2008). Emotional policy: Personal sadness and anger shape judgments about a welfare case. Political Psychology, 29, 149–168.

  • Van Dijk, W.W., Zeelenberg, M., & van der Pligt, J. (2003). Blessed are they who expect nothing: Lowering expectations as a way of avoiding disappointment. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 505–516.

  • Van Dillen L .F., Van der Wal R. C. & Van den Bos K. (2012), On the role of attention and emotion in morality: Attentional control modulates unrelated disgust in moral judgements, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1221-1230.

  • Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective forecasting. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 35, pp. 345–411). New York: Elsevier.

  • Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2013). The impact bias is alive and well. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 740-748.

  • Zeelenberg, M., & Pieters, R. (2004). Consequences of regret aversion in real life: The case of the Dutch postcode lottery. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 93, 155–168.

  • Zeelenberg, M., Van Dijk, W.W., Manstead, A. S. R., & Van der Pligt, J. (2000). On bad decisions and disconfirmed expectancies: The psychology of regret and disappointment.Cognition and Emotion, 14, 521–541.

Contact information

Prof. dr. Wilco van Dijk