Influencing People: Psychology and Practice

Using knowledge from psychology, economics, and marketing, you will learn how to influence people and resist their influence, how to get your message across, and how to negotiate a good deal.

Naam van de minor/Name minor:

Influencing People: Psychology and Practice



Teaching language:


Programme which has the coordinating role for this minor:

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM); Department of Marketing Management

Other programmes which are contributing to the minor:

not applicable


See admissions matrix



Which commercials and Facebook posts stick to your mind? What drives you to buy a product or to take a risk? Should lawyers draw a conclusion in their closing statements? Why don’t your employees finish their projects on time? How can you get the best price when you sell your bike? In this course we will answer these and other questions. Borrowing theories from marketing, economics, and psychology, you will obtain actionable insights into the psychology of human behavior — improving your ability to influence other people and to prevent psychological biases to cloud your judgments. You will put these theories into practice by participating in classroom experiments and exercises, presenting in front of an audience, and designing and conducting an influencing campaign.

Learning objectives

To become a better decision-maker To become a better persuader To become a better negotiator


Specific characteristics

(max. 4000 tekens/characters)


Open for non-RSM students and RSM students. No specific prior knowledge required. 


Maximum number of students that can participate:

not applicable

Minimum number of students that can participate:


Contact hours:

36 hours

Self study hours:



Overview modules

Module 1: Understanding and Influencing Decisions

  • ECTS:

  • content:

    The first module will focus on psychological theories of human behavior, with the goal of understanding the complexity of people’s decisions and the heuristics they use to navigate through such decisions. Although the focus of this module is mostly theoretical, we will conduct classroom experiments that explicate how people are swayed when they try to determine their best choices as consumers, managers, and citizens. You will obtain actionable insights to influence such choices and to prevent other people from influencing you. The knowledge acquired in this module is fundamental to designing the influencing campaign that is the main focus of the next module.
  • Teaching method:

    Classes, Classroom experiments
  • Teaching materials:

     Articles provided via Blackboard
  • Contact hours:

    About 7 classes of 3 hours each 

Module 2: From Theory to Practice

  • ECTS:

  • content:

    In the second module, we will progressively shift from studying theories about human behavior towards applying such theories. Classes will mostly concern practical aspects of conducting an influencing campaign. We will have classroom presentations of your proposed campaign, in which you will try to persuade your audience of its importance and validity. After receiving feedback from your classmates and from the instructors, you will move on to the field to test your campaign.
  •  Teaching method:

    Classes, Assignment
  • Teaching materials:

      Articles provided via Blackboard
  • Contact hours: 

    About 6 classes of 3 hours each

Module 3: Negotiation: Psychology and Strategies

  • ECTS:

  • content:

    Whereas the previous modules focus on the understanding and influencing people’s behavior, the last module will focus on interactive situations in which all actors have an interest to pursue. Through a mixture of class discussions and exercises, you will learn how to tacitly and explicitly negotiate with an opponent in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you. During this module you will also prepare the final report of your influencing campaign.
  • Teaching method:

    Classes, Negotiation exercises
  • Teaching materials:

    Articles provided via Blackboard, Negotiation cases provided during class 
  • Contact hours:

    About 5 classes of 3 hours each


Method of examination:

Examination for this minor will consist of multiple aspects:
  • Group assignment. The assignment will include designing, presenting orally, conducting, and reporting an “influencing campaign”. Students will identify one specific decision they want to influence (e.g., whether or not to recycle in the cafeteria), and translate the theories we discuss in class into a campaign to influence such decision.
  • Written test. This will be an individual, closed book test consisting of open questions about the content of the course. We will provide examples of questions in class.
  • Negotiation Bonus. In the last module, we will have exercises in class in which students will negotiate with one another.

Composition of final grade:

  • The group assignment will count for 40% of the final grade (5.5 required to pass the course).
  • This written test will count for 60% of the final grade (5.5 required to pass the course).

Feedback method:

  • Blackboard

Contact information

Contact person:

Name: Gabriele Paolacci
E-mail: gpaolacci@rsm.nlPhonenumber: 010-4081715.
Room: T10-17 Instructors: Gabriele Paolacci, Bram Van den Bergh 

Faculty website:

Gabriele Paolacci