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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 go to the party if Mary doesn’t? Is this person guilty? Should I worry about this medical test outcome? And should I stay home after a 'code orange' forcast? 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 3 fields of application, among which medical and legal decision making


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




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

Eight lectures (including guest lectures from professional decision making experts).

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. A grade for a unit of assessment that is no lower than 4.5 can be compensated by a grade for the other unit of assessment.

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.

Contact information

Dr. Fenna Poletiek