English Notes Social Environment and Behaviour, Groningen Psychology year 2

Lecture Notes from the course in 2014/2015.


Lecture 1

Kees Keizer and Nina Hansen are this year's lecturer and they describe the course Social Environment and Behavior as an opportunity for the students to learn how social theories are applied to real-life problems. In contrast to most of the other familiar professors their work is focused outside the university and they are usually hired by parties outside to the science domain. For example, Kees has worked on projects with hospitals to stop the smoking in adjacent areas. Whereas, Nina is interested in cultural change and how it is affected by modernization, transforming economies, etc. Her work includes evaluating the introduction of different aids that are successful in the western countries, but its effects are not as clear in the context of developing countries. For instance, micro financing might help people escape poverty, but can also have negative impact on one's family life.

The goals of the course are helping students learn analyzing and explaining how various human factors relate to social problems as well as how the social and physical surrounding affect human behavior and perception. Furthermore, after the course student should be able to apply theories with the aim of evaluating societal problems. Last but not least, gaining insight into how people can be influenced in order to engage in a number of adaptive behaviors, as well as assessing the usefulness of interventions is a crucial step to solving the problem in hand.

We see it is all about addressing some societal issues, but what can these actually be? Reducing the levels of energy use, preventing accidents on the road and convincing people to stop smoking are very well-known examples. In the domain of work, we want to know how to make people more motivated and in turn more productive. Media and its influences have gained lots of attention, as people are overloaded with information. Furthermore, immigration and how people integrate is highly relevant nowadays, because our environment is getting more culturally diverse. Another maybe less well-intentioned example is developing marketing strategies for companies.

However, all of these social psychological problems... Interested? Read the instructions below in order to read the full content of this page.

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