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The Psychology of Media and Communication


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Economic and Consumer Psychology.


This course offers a psychological perspective on communication in an economic and consumer psychology setting—such as health, sustainability, or prosocial behaviour. We will cover insights from (economic and consumer) psychology and communication science using a blended learning approach: In knowledge clips, students will learn psychological principles of influence, effective communication strategies, and media effects. In workgroups, students will use this knowledge to develop an evidence-based persuasive message (e.g., poster, video, app) and communication strategy (e.g., what to communicate to whom, when, where). At the end of the course, students hand in a report with the evidence-based reasoning for their persuasive message and communication strategy, including a plan to measure its effectiveness. In addition, there will be an exam testing the knowledge about basic principles of the psychology of media and communication.

Course objectives

On completion of the course, the students:

  • Have knowledge about the basic principles of the psychology of influence, effective communication strategies, and media effects;

  • Know how to apply this knowledge to predict the effectiveness of concrete messages;

  • Know how to apply this knowledge to create an evidence-based communication strategy for an economic and consumer psychology case; and

  • Can give expert advice to companies and/or institutions regarding the psychology of influence and the development of evidence-based communication strategies.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

One 2-hour introductory lecture, five 2-hour work group sessions, and online knowledge clips:

  • Introductory lecture: to cover the course goals and a general theoretical background of the psychology of influence.

  • Work group sessions: to work on the persuasive message and the media and communication strategy.

  • Online knowledge clips: to cover the relevant literature on the psychology of influence.

Attendance to all meetings (introductory lecture and workgroups) is mandatory.

Assessment method

The final grade is based an exam (50% of final grade) and a report (50% of final grade):

  • The exam assesses knowledge about the psychology of effective communication and media effects.

  • The report describes an evidence-based persuasive message and communication strategy.

  • Please note:

  • Final grade should be at least a 6.0: The grade for the exam should be 5.5 or higher and the grade for the report should be a 6.0 or higher.

  • The exam covers Van de Pligt and Vliek (2017) and (the slides from) the knowledge clips.

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

In the work groups, we will use:

  • Buunk, A.P., Dijkstra, P., & Van Vugt, M. (2021). Applying social psychology: From problems to solutions. SAGE Publications.
    In the knowledge clips, we will cover:

  • Van der Pligt, J., & Vliek, M. L. W. (2017). The psychology of Influence: Theory, research and application. Psychology Press (Routledge).

Recommended reading before the start of the course:

  • Cialdini, R.B. (2007). Influence. The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Collins.

Contact information

Dr. Marret Noordewier