Applied Cognitive Psychology
The idea that people constantly use knowledge stored in the brain when interpreting the world around them is important for Cognitive Psychology. The computer plays a prominent and intriguing part in the research into the nature of cognitive processes and structures. It can be seen as an artificial brain that, if programmed correctly, can display ‘artificial intelligence’. Cognitive Psychology has an extensive range of application. Applied Cognitive Psychology contains three specialisations from which students can select one.
MSc Applied Cognitive Psychology-Specialized in Health & Social Psychology
Excessive smoking, overeating, and laziness are just some examples of unhealthy and undesirable behaviour. In the specialisation Health and Social Psychology, the nature, origin and maintenance of these and other ‘bad habits’ are studied, as well as the ways to change them. All kinds of unhealthy and undesirable behaviours will be studied in a multidisciplinary way. Although we study unhealthy and undesirable behaviours, it is important to know and realise that Health and Social Psychology does not train students to become a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist!
MSc Programme Objective
Students learn to analyse the mechanisms responsible for unhealthy or undesirable behaviour, using recent theories, models and findings from all kinds of (psychological) disciplines. By using this knowledge, it is possible to systematically develop an intervention that is aimed at changing the unhealthy and undesirable behaviour. In their thesis, students do research, for example, as to why people maintain bad habits.
MSc Programme Outline
The Health and Social Psychology specialisation offers the following courses: ‘Bad habits’, ‘Self-Regulation’, ‘Planning Behaviour-Change Programmes’, and ‘Manipulation’. Drinking or eating excessively and unsafe sex are examples of unhealthy and unwanted behaviour. In the ‘Bad habits’ course, various recent views from both social and clinical psychology are used to explain how healthy and unhealthy and wanted and unwanted behaviours develop and endure. The course on ‘Self-Regulation’ focuses on the regulation of behaviour: why do people find it so hard to resist their impulses? ‘Planning Behaviour-Change Programmes’ aims at translating theoretical knowledge into an effective intervention. The course on ‘Manipulation’ deals with strategies of social influence, persuasion and attitude change. During the second semester, students will complete a research internship and write their thesis.
Links with Research
The themes of the specialisation Health and Social Psychology are strongly linked to the existing research programmes on disordered eating behaviour, obesity, self-control, addictive behaviours, learning theories, cognitive processing of health related issues, AIDS prevention, intervention development and planned behaviour change. This close link between education and research offers master’s students many opportunities to participate in current research.
Job possibilities for Health and Social psychologists are broad, some of them are: researcher in an academic or health setting, communication planning, health promotion and policy making.
Last updated July 27, 2015