This page is aimed at (prospective) students of the master Psychology, who wish to specialize in the track Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety. At the campus of the University of Twente, this master track offers a unique programme in which we combine theoretical knowledge (mainly from social psychology, but with crossovers to e.g. clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, and work and organizational psychology) with an applied and intervention focus. This means that many of our projects are done in close collaboration with partners from practice, preferably on real cases, and aimed at designing and evaluating effective interventions.
Our teaching is closely intertwined with our research programme and is organised around three themes:
- Conflict and crisis management: Within this theme we focus on how to deal with conflicts and incidents that pose a threat to individual and societal safety. For example, we examine the dynamics surrounding employees who work in a public environment and who are confronted with civilians who act violently (see project “Aggression and Violence against Employees with a public task”). Another example includes the question how disputes between neighbours can be peacefully resolved through e.g. neighbourhood mediation. We also address group dynamics, for example when team members are involved in high-stakes decision-making and they may be vulnerable to e.g. group think. With the knowledge you acquire, you can develop into an expert in the area of interventions aimed to deal with and solve such conflicts or manage group interactions.
- Risk perception and –communication: This theme offers you insight into the psychology of risks: why do civilians sometimes estimate the risk of flooding, fire or disease as very high, and sometimes as to be neglected? How does the social environment play a role in this, such as the opinions of peers and the media? You are able to advise governmental, and other public as well as private agencies on how to assess risks among civilians, and how to empower them to guard themselves against such risks (see for example ‘gedragsbeinvloeding’). As part of this theme, we are involved in the Risk Factory, an interactive safety centre where children and vulnerable groups (the elderly or disabled) can learn to become more risk aware and resilient.
- Explaining and dealing with risky, antisocial and criminal behaviour: Within this theme you develop expertise on why people display risky, antisocial and criminal behavior (e.g. cybercrime) and how you can effectively intervene when such behaviour has been displayed. The influence of the environment plays a central role here. This includes the physical environment, such as security measures (CCTV), but also the social environment (peers, co-workers, cultures). You learn about important interventions that have the capacity to go against this negative behavior (e.g. different forms of sanctions and behavioural interventions for offenders; see ‘recidive na een reclasseringscontact’).
As some of the examples illustrate, we have a particular interest in projects that lie at the intersection of different themes, such as when we use conflict frames to explain and examine terrorist acts, and for examining the dynamics of hostage negotiations, suspect interrogations, or HUMINT interactions. Another example is research on how to establish effective problem-solving partnerships with the community to prevent crime and disorder, such as in community policing. Also, we examine how public debate about societal risks may evolve and how new societal trends such as victim-offender mediation may best be organized.
Please visit the home pages of our section members to get an overview of more projects.