Global Health Network

Applied Social Psychology

The Applied Social Psychology research group focuses on the application of (social) psychological theory about behaviour and behaviour change to the development of theory- and evidence-based behavioural change programmes to promote health, safety and a sustainable environment. In the past years our work has addressed a wide range of public health topics among which sexual and reproductive health, childhood vaccination, energy conservation, traffic safety, drug abuse, and reducing stereotyping and stigmatization. The group’s research explores the effects of our thoughts, our feelings and our social environment on our behaviour, and how these personal and environmental factors can be influenced by means of education and training. The group’s research frequently contributes to the development of educational campaigns and programmes, such as school-based education, mass media campaigns, internet sites, and programmes for works sites.

Our approach

In our basic research, our group uses the controlled setting of a behavioural laboratory and apply bio-indicators such as EEG and brain scans (fMRI). However, the group is also strongly involved in research capacity building projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Ghana and Zambia. Typical of these capacity building projects is that PhD candidates work on their research and thesis in their residence country while graduating at Maastricht University.

Central to the group’s research and teaching is Intervention Mapping, a protocol to design theory- and evidence-based public health programmes.

The Department of Work and Social Psychology

The section Applied Social Psychology is based in the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and together with the section Work and Organizational Psychology forms the Department of Work and Social Psychology. The section Work and Organizational Psychology focuses on studying how sustainable employment can be encouraged in organizations, specifically how organizations can reach and maintain high performance and at the same time safeguard employee health and well-being. The combination of the two sections thus offers excellent opportunities for synergy, such as applying social psychological theories (in particular knowledge about interventions for behavioural change) in organisational settings (e.g. health promotion in the workplace, work and health, stress and the role of leadership, energy conservation in workplaces). While, on the other hand, knowledge from the domain of work and organisation psychology is important to understand how people work, and how organisations function (and develop) in order to influence these aspects.

The Department offers master’s programmes in:

The Department also contributes strongly to the Bachelor programme Psychology