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Psychology: Social Influence (track)

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Why are emotional appeals in advertising campaigns sometimes effective and sometimes not? How do we encourage fewer people to cycle in pedestrian areas? How do we study the effectiveness of measures to prevent tax evasion? Many organisations and companies benefit from effectively influencing the behaviour of citizens or consumers. There are public health agencies trying to encourage people to exercise regularly, whereas advertising agencies try to increase sales of a particular product and municipalities try to discourage littering in parks. But how can we develop a strategy that is effective in achieving these goals?

UvA online Open House

This year, you won’t be able to attend any busy on-campus events with lots of people. But our online Open House is the perfect way to get to know UvA study programmes and university life from the comfort of your own home.

Every study programme has an Open House page with videos, FAQs and live events. On the main Open House website you can discover all our programmes,explore the city and campus, and get inspired during our theme weeks.

Social Influence
Social psychology as a science aims to explain and predict human behaviour. The emphasis here is on understanding the role of the social context. Knowledge about determinants of behaviour, such as emotions, motivation, attitudes and group dynamics, can increase the effectiveness of interventions. These determinants play a significant role when you, for example, want to encourage citizens to separate their waste or help care for the elderly, or if you want your target group to purchase specific products.

Study programme

During this master’s track, you have the opportunity to deepen your social-psychological knowledge and hone your research skills as well as learn about systematic, critical approaches to applied problems when influencing behaviour. You work through various case studies to learn how to apply scientific knowledge and approaches to applied behavioural influence problems.

You learn how to analyse concrete human behaviour using social-psychological theory and how to generate valid and reliable measurements of (current) attitudes, emotions, motivation and behaviour. You also learn, step by step, how to develop interventions and how to evaluate those interventions using intervention mapping.

Small-group teaching approach 

An emphasis on behaviour with societal implications

Learn about behaviour driven by

emotions, motivation, attitudes and group dynamics

work through various case studies and

learn how to analyse human behaviour


Organisations often call upon the expertise of advertising or marketing agencies as well as research and consultancy firms. Some organisations even have such specialised departments in-house, such as strategy, communication or marketing departments. Students who graduate from this master's track can be found in organisations or departments that are involved in behavioural influence in the broadest sense of the word.

  • Strategists/Researchers at advertising agencies and consultancy firms
  • Behavioural influence consultants
  • Policy and research positions 
  • Consumer behaviour consultants
Facts & Figures
Degree programme MSc
Mode Full-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66604