Bachelor in Psychology: Programme information
Psychologists try to get a grip on human behaviour by formulating theories and testing them through research. Because our behaviour is driven by a whole range of factors, there is an equally wide range of different theories within the field of psychology. The Psychology programme at Maastricht introduces students to all of these approaches. The programme teaches students to independently design and carry out scientific research.
The bachelor’s in Psychology in Maastricht is distinct for its dual focus:
- cognitive psychology examines the often unconscious mental processes between the external event (the stimulus) and our reaction to it (the response)
- biological psychology assumes that everything we consciously or unconsciously perceive, do and think is due to patterns of activity in the brain, and brain-imaging techniques like fMRI play an important role in this approach
If you study the behaviour of people, you should look further than visible behaviour, also at what goes on in the mind of a person is important. Cognitive psychology studies these internal mental processes of a person, such as language, memory, thought and perception. These processes influence all our behaviour, whether rational, subconscious or emotional. Cognitive psychology describes these processes in terms of information processing. For example, we can predict which telephone numbers are easy to remember, which commercials and information campaigns are most effective and what method of studying for an exam is best. When we combine cognitive psychology with biological psychology, it is called ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’.
Biological psychology assumes that everything we consciously or unconsciously perceive, do and think is due to patterns of activity in the brain. If you consider that our brains contain more neurons than there are stars in the sky, it’s clear why the human brain is among the most complex structures in the world. Various techniques, including the latest brain-imaging techniques, make it possible to look inside the living brain and measure where activity occurs when you undertake a particular action or have a certain thought. Such techniques can also measure the effects of psychoactive drugs that change the way we think, act and perceive. Examples of these are tranquillisers that slow down the central nervous system or stimulants like amphetamines and caffeine, which activate the nervous system.