In the first module, you will learn all about what psychology is and how you can solve (societal) problems systematically using behavioural change. You will dig into substantive topics, such as perception, learning, memory, thinking and emotions. You will also learn what steps to take when setting up a research project. For your team project you can choose between two options: a project centring on improving safe behaviour on the Internet or one on stimulating environment-friendly behaviour among a target group of your choice. In doing so, you will also develop your project management and academic writing skills. Reflecting on your own work, with a view to improving your academic and team performance, is also part of the process.
The focus in the second module is on social behaviour. Social behaviour deals with the effects of social environment on individual behaviour, and with how social behaviour develops in children/young people. You will get familiar with key social psychology theories regarding social perception (the way people perceive themselves, others and groups); social influences (conformity, group processes, attitudes and influencing behaviour); and social relationships (altruism, aggression and attraction between people). Using group theories, you will describe and analyse how your team functions and what your own role is in the team. You will also learn how to statistically describe and analyse your research data, and how to search for and process academic literature. Your team project consists of designing an intervention aimed at reducing aggressive behaviour in sports, at home or at work.
The third module deals with cognition and development. You will first learn how the nervous system works and what the biological basis of behaviour is. You will study cognitive functions, such as memory, language, attention, and the motor system, and how each one develops. In this period, you will also continue studying statistical techniques in psychology. The project in module 3 is more technological: you get to redesign a device in order to make it more user-friendly, for example, a printer, a coffee machine or the UT’s scheduling software. For this, you draw on the knowledge you have acquired about human cognitive skills.
The central theme in the last module of your first year is the individual. This module is all about studying people holistically, or as a whole. This can involve looking at differences between people, character traits and life stories. You will explore topics from personality psychology, clinical psychology and test theory. You will also get familiar with the basics of interviewing people, various ways of collecting and analysing data, and developing and conducting psychological tests. In your project, you will develop a test that measures personality traits.