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Decision Making: Theory and Practice


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology.


Shall I buy a travel insurance? Shall I organize a barbecue or a party indoor? Is this person guilty? Should I worry about this medical test outcome? And should I stay home after a 'code orange' forecast? We all face a perplexing array of judgments and decisions every day. In this course, we review the main theories in judgment and decision making, and we consider applications in both every day and professional decision problems.

Course objectives

  • Being introduced in the formal and psychological science of judgment and decision making

  • Being introduced in 2 fields of application, among which medical and legal decision making


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

Eight lectures (including guest lectures from experts in applied fields of decision making).

Assessment method

The examination consists of two parts:

  • A multiple-choice examination of 30 questions on Newell et al’s book

  • An essay examination (open questions) about papers. The two components are tested simultaneously. The final grade is a combination of the multiple-choice examination grade (70%) and the essay examination grade (30%). A higher grade in one component can be used to compensate for a fail in another component.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • Newell, Lagnado & Shanks (2015). Straight choices. The psychology of decision making. 2nd Edition. Hove: Psychology Press.

  • Articles related to the topics of the guest lectures. See Brightspace

Contact information

Dr. Fenna Poletiek