The psychology of good and evil
To explain topics that span business scandals, leadership, honesty and altruism, this course applies psychological theories to explain why and when people - even you - display good and evil behaviour.
|Name of minor:||The psychology of good and evil|
|Offered by:||Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), department BSM/Erasmus Centre of Behavioural Ethics|
|Other programmes which are contributing to the minor:||not applicable|
|Access:||See admissions matrix|
Both in working life and everyday interactions, topics like justice, morality, ethics, trust and cooperation are crucial: they ultimately represent the values that keep society going. However, the financial crisis, and recent business scandals make it clear that people do not always find it easy to do the right thing. To better understand why, and when people display behavior that is good or evil, this course will employ insights from psychology and behavioral economics that help to explain social behavior. We thus show that most people can find themselves doing good or evil things, despite never expecting themselves to in advance.
To understand the psychological processes that underlie people’s tendencies toward good and evil behavior. Questions that will be addressed include:
- are we always aware of our good and evil behavior?
- is power by definition a bad thing?
- does power by definition corrupt?
- are we really rational beings who make perfectly rational decisions?
- is honesty more important than self-interest?
- what makes someone an ethical leader?
- what creates trust?
- how can damaged trust be restored?
- how does the situation we are in affect our behavior?
Maximum number of students that can participate in the minor: 100
Minimum number of students that can participate in the minor: 20
In the 9 lecture weeks, students will have a 3 hour lecture twice a week
Lectures and assignments
Book chapters and reader
Students are required to give a) a presentation, and b) write an essay, and c) the final written exam. The final written examination consists of multiple choice questions. The final grade is determined as follows: exam = 50%, essay and presentation = 25% each.
Students will receive oral or written feedback on presentations and essays. The exam and final grades are made available through Blackboard. Exams are available for inspection by students after grades have been made public, only by appointment.