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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 lectures, 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 timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables

Semester 1: Lectures Work group sessions Exam

Semester 2: Lectures Work group sessions



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

Four 2-hour lectures and five 2-hour work group sessions:

  • Lectures: to cover the relevant literature on the psychology of influence.

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

Attendance to all meetings (workgroups and lectures) 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 & Vliek (2016) and the lectures.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

In the work groups, we will use:

  • Buunk, A.P. & Van Vugt, M. (2013). Applying Social Psychology: From problems to solutions. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
    In the lectures, we will cover:

  • Van der Pligt, J., & Vliek, M. L. W. (2016). The psychology of Influence: Theory, research and application. London: Psychology Press (Routledge).

Reading before the start of the course:

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

Contact information

Dr. Marret Noordewier