Psychologie des sozial-ökologischen Wandels

Lehrende/Lecturer/s: Initiative Psychologie im Umweltschutz (IPU)
Zeitraum/Time period: WiSe 22/23
Credit Points: 3
Workload: 90 hours
Sprache/Language: deutsch
VAK-Nr./Course No.: eGS-VA-PSW-21
Anbieter/Supplier: VAN
Lizenz/License: CC BY NC ND
Open course

Content of the Course

It is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to solve the ecological and social challenges of our century through technical progress alone, but will require extensive changes in the way we live together in society. Consequently, psychology as a science of individual experience, thinking and behavior plays a role in this socio-ecological transformation. In the first two lectures we will introduce concepts and models of socio-ecological transformation and place the individual as an object of knowledge of psychology in this context. In the five subsequent lectures, we discuss the role of the individual in more detail. How do individuals experience and evaluate environmental problems and risks? How can individual (environmental) behavior be grasped and what action-theoretical perspectives does psychology offer? What influence do knowledge, values and attitudes have on sustainability-related decisions of individuals and how does the social environment affect such decisions? The series concludes with a discussion of the impact of individual behavior on the environment ("ecological footprint") and, in the process, addresses limits to individual behavioral change. The last three lectures therefore broaden the focus. First, groups are examined and psychological factors influencing collective sustainability action, such as activism, are discussed. Another lecture takes a look at individuals as public agents (participation). In the last lecture, we present designs of a sustainability-transformed society and discuss how the well-being of individuals in such a society can be viewed from a psychological perspective. The ten lectures are divided into three blocks each: The first two blocks are theory sections, in which a lecturer discusses two sub-topics. In the third block, called "Review and Practice", the respective topic is first embedded in the context of socio-economic transformation. Afterwards, a practical application of the topic will be presented, which you can then try out yourself in self-study.

Acquisition of Competences

In this course, you will learn environmental psychological knowledge in the areas of environmental and risk perception, individual behavior change, collective environmental action and participation. You will be able to recognize the need for and scope of socio-ecological transformation and its implications for the individual. They learn to develop visions of a sustainable society and can reflect on the significance of this change from a psychological perspective. They learn how to apply this knowledge in everyday life and in their own commitment to environmental protection and acquire a basic knowledge of methods of gaining psychological insights, in particular questioning and experimentation.

Exam Information

To receive a certificate of achievement and credit points, you must complete the course with an electronic exam. You can choose the examination date freely from several examination times in the semester. The examination takes place in presence.
  • Students of the University of Bremen take their exams in the university's test center. 
  • Students from partner universities of the Virtual Academy of Sustainability take their exams on dates at their home university.

Target Group

The event is open to students of all disciplines. The offer is especially aimed at students of the University of Bremen and students of the partner universities of the Virtual Academy Sustainability. The content is also available as OER for all interested parties.

Lecturers of the Course

This event is offered by the Psychology in the Environment (IPU) initiative and originated in the summer of 2020 as part of the Virtual Academy of Sustainability.

Course Management

This course is supervised by the eGeneral Studies team and the Virtual Academy. If you have any questions, please contact:
  • (for students of the University of Bremen) or to
  • (for students of the Virtual Academy Sustainability).


Semester independent


None, basic course