The Newsletter of the Institute of Psychology

Many people within and outside our university have no idea what (other) psychologists do which may have consequences for the appreciation that we get, and maybe also for potential funding of our work. It is therefore our intention this newsletter to focus on all forms of impact of our research: scientific impact, social impact (initiatives that bring psychologists, students or staff, together), and societal impact (initiatives that can be useful to promote our discipline).

Do you know [such and such] at the institute of Psychology?

I am sure that many of us have already been approached by a colleague from another university or country with the message: “Hi, you are working at Leiden University. One of your colleagues in Psychology is doing excellent research on [such and such] ...”. When something like this happens, you may feel rather uncomfortable, because in some cases you do not even know the person or, if you do, you do not really know what exactly he or she is doing at the Leiden University Institute of Psychology.

Diverse types of Psychology research.

Psychology research has become very complex and diverse both in terms of content and methods. Some researchers got more and more involved with the biological and neurological underpinnings of human behaviour and cognition. While this type of research is innovative, its complexity may cause these researchers to focus increasingly on their own, often very specific, domain of research. On the other hand, the group of researchers that is active in more applied areas of psychology is often not sufficiently aware of the developments that take place within more fundamental areas of psychology, and, as a consequence, may underestimate its relevance and impact. Last but not least, there are researchers within our institute who have a widely recognized expertise in the development of, often very sophisticated, statistical methods; unfortunately, other researchers don’t always profit enough from this expertise due to a lack of information.     

It is time to broaden our scope.

While there may thus be good explanations for our lack of knowledge about what is going on in other domains of psychology, the question remains whether this is the most optimal working or learning environment. So, maybe the time has come to broaden our scope. Getting to know each other and building bridges across different domains may not only strengthen our professional identity as psychologists, it can also lead to increased job satisfaction, and it could become the starting point of joint projects, which may have the potential of acquiring large research grants as well as promoting our discipline to the outside world. A newsletter may help to fulfil this mission.

Focus of the Psychology Newsletter

It is our intention to focus in this newsletter on all forms of impact of our research: scientific impact, social impact (initiatives that bring psychologists, students or staff, together), and societal impact (initiatives that can be useful to promote our discipline).

Contributors for this issue

As we consider it important to focus on all units of psychology and on different research perspectives, fundamental as well as applied, we have approached people from each unit within the Institute to act as contact persons. Michiel Westenberg, Willem van der Does, Margot van der Doef, Serena Does, Lorenza Colzato, and Mark de Rooij have accepted to take on this task. We are grateful for their contribution to this first issue.

Last Modified: 03-08-2011