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Uncovering Student Stereotypes: The Psychology Student

Five students from different studies share their thoughts on students they never met. They share the stereotypes they have of certain groups of students, and we check which ones really apply in reality.

This week we look at the psychology student who, according to the students, is ‘a free spirited, empathetic and laid-back person’.

The stereotypical Psychology student
The interviewed students see the psychology student as an empathetic person who

  • ‘Loves to do things that will get their mind off of their thoughts, like watch movies and listen to music’
  • ‘Is passionate about the way people’s minds work’
  • ‘Chose their study because they suffer from a mental illness and want to learn more about it’
  • ‘Take their study home and try to control their own behavior and the behavior of people around them’

The student behind the stereotype
How much did the students get right? Nora Bos is a second-year psychology student at Hanze UAS. ‘I understand the phenomenon of stereotypes. When you don’t know people personally, their strongest personality traits will be most visible. They will all look the same. But when you really get to know people, you’ll realize how unique they actually are.’

Nora fits the stereotypes in some ways. ‘I listen to music or do something creative like photography when I want to relax, but they also say my free time activities have to do with my study or the effect my study has on me, and that’s not true.’

‘I do find the way people’s minds work interesting, but the things I am very passionate about are animals, especially horses, spiders and frogs. I also love music, I listen to music all day long.’

So why did Nora chose to study Psychology? ‘During the preselection period of my study, I realized how much fun I had studying the theory. You can recognize the things you learn in daily life.’

I am interested in the behavior of people and I do take certain theories home

So do many Psychology students suffer from a mental disease themselves? ‘I do see that a pretty big group of people in my study have had to deal with issues, or rather obstacles, personally or in their surroundings. For example, depression, anxiety or bullying.’

And are they obsessed with controlling behavior? Nora disagrees. ‘I have bad habits like everyone else, I love to eat all day long, for instance. Everything becomes a thousand times more fun with food. And I’m also quite chaotic.’

So does Nora agree with the comments made by students? ‘They got some things right, yes, I am interested in the behavior of people and I do take certain theories home. But that others see that as wrong doesn’t have to be right. As long as you do it in a healthy way, it’s not wrong.’