Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 201500812
Course infoSchedule
Course code201500812
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Social Sciences; Graduate School Sociale Wetenschappen; Social, Health and Organisational Psychology;
Contact persondr. J.S. Benjamins
Contactperson for the course
dr. J.S. Benjamins
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. J.S. Benjamins
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. F.M. Kroese
Other courses by this lecturer
prof. dr. D.T.D. de Ridder
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
2  (11/11/2019 to 31/01/2020)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotD: WED-afternoon, Friday
Study mode
RemarkThis course is open to all interested master students. Bachelor students cannot register for this course.
Enrolling through OSIRISNo
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Waiting listNo
The course is taught in English. See the course manual for further details.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:
1.    Explain, connect and reflect on different theories related to behavior and behavior change strategies
2.    Identify relevant criteria for nudges and understand their working mechanisms
3.    Distinguish between different categories and types of nudges
4.    Recognize different points of view in the academic and societal debate about nudging, and formulate their own standpoints
5.    Communicate with relevant parties and develop a nudge to influence behavior in a self-chosen setting
Relation between learning goals and examination

Learning goals 1-4 involve understanding, application, and analysis of conceptual knowledge. These goals are assessed in the written exam. Learning goal 5, addressing the ability to create new solutions based on the application and integration of acquired knowledge, is assessed in the assignment: students develop a nudge based on wishes and/or requirements from a relevant organization, and (orally) present their work in a format that would be appropriate for this organization as well.
If unhealthy food is placed further away, people will eat less of it; a painted fly in a urinal will prevent men from spilling; and placing trees closer to the edge of a road will reduce driving speed. Small, smart adjustments in the environment that subtly affect people’s default choices have demonstrated to yield impressive results in a broad range of behavioral domains. Importantly, this specific intervention strategy, known as nudging, departs from other intervention techniques as it does not rely on persuasion, but makes use of psychological insights showing that people are often not very rational, but rather make impulsive choices (‘go with the default’). That is, without interfering with autonomy or freedom of choice, nudges aim to make it easier for people to perform a specific behavior, rather than convince them what is ‘right’. Not surprising then, it has recently sparked the interest of policy makers and a large number of public organizations.
This course will focus on the use of nudging as a novel strategy to adapt behavior, with a particular focus on the area of health and well-being.  We address the theoretical background of nudges in comparison to other approaches for behavior modification, and incorporate empirical work providing insight into working mechanisms and (boundary conditions for) the effectiveness of nudges. In addition, taking a more practical approach, students will be challenged to think about the design of a nudge, the implementation issues that may come along with it, and the requirements for a proper evaluation of its effectiveness. Finally, the course will address the topical academic and societal debate about nudging and the role of various institutions in promoting health and well-being, including ethical considerations.
Nudging strategies will be examined in different contexts, including private settings, public spaces, health care, schools and work settings. The course has a strong focus on connecting theory and practice and aims to involve international partners and societal organizations working in the field of health promotion.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for a degree programme of faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Enrolled for one of the following degree programmes
    • Applied Cognitive Psychology
    • Child and Adolescent Psychology
    • Clinical and Health Psychology
    • Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
    • Clinical Child, Family and Education Studies
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Cultural Anthropology: Sustainable Citizenship
    • Education, Socialization and Youth Policies
    • Educational Design and Consultancy
    • Educational Sciences
    • Multiculturalism in comparative perspective
    • Neuropsychology
    • Orthopedagogy
    • Policy Analyses and Organisations
    • Social and organisational psychology
    • Social Policy and Public Health
    • Social Policy and Social Interventions
    • Social Psychology
    • Social, Health and Organisational Psychology
    • Sociology: Contemporary Social Problems
    • Work and Organizational Psychology
    • Youth Studies
    • Youth Studies
    • Youth, Education and Society
Prerequisite knowledge
Basic knowledge about behavior change theories.
Prerequisite knowledge can be obtained through
Clinical/health/social psychology
Required materials
Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN-13: 9780141040011.
Selection of academic papers.
Instructional formats

Class session preparation
Students are expected to read the course materials prior to each lecture.


Small-group session

Test weight50
Minimum grade5.5

Aspects of student academic development
Communication skills
Presentations - preparation, execution and evaluation of lectures and defences
Collaboration, working in a team
Structured work approach
Knowledge leverage in a wider context

Written test
Test weight50
Minimum grade5.5

Aspects of student academic development
Information study and analysis

Kies de Nederlandse taal