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Methods and instruments in cognitive and affective neuroscience



The focus in this course is on gaining knowledge about neuroscienentific methods and techniques in research context, in order to measure the biological origins of (ab)normal behavior, learning and emotion.
Contemporary cognitive and affective neuroscience makes use of a wide range of methods that are often used in combination with the more traditional tools. In addition to new technologies for measurement, cognitive and affective neuroscience methodology relies on the use of careful experimental designs, valid manipulations of psychological states and processes, and careful inference and interpretation.

In a series of two-hour lectures, the concepts and principles of a range of neuroscientific methods and techniques will be discussed.
Lecture topics include:

  • MRI Neuroimaging

  • Psychophysiology


  • Genetics/Epigenetics

  • Complexity Analyses (AI/Network Models)

NB The first lecture is an introductory session; a short overview of cognitive and affective neuroscience methods will be provided, and the outline of the course will be discussed.

Course objectives

In this course the student will learn about methods and techniques to examine neurocognition, behavioral genetics, psychophysiology, and brain structure/function, to grasp biological bases of (ab)normal human behavior. At the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify opportunities and limitations of these methods/techniques.

  • Understand experimentation using these methods/techniques.

  • Understand how to interpret data obtained using these methods/techniques.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

Mode of instruction:

8 x 2-hour lecturers in English. These lectures will form the heart of this course. The lectures will outline the main concepts and illustrate them using examples from research and/or clinical practice. We will benefit from guest lecturers from across a wide range of disciplines, including Developmental Science, Neuroscience, Genetics, Child Studies, and Neuroimaging. For these lectures we will utilize scientific papers as recommend literature (announced 1 week prior to lecture). The suggested literature plus all material discussed in the lectures serve as the backbone for the final exam, so attendance is highly necessary.
Besides plenary lectures, this course also includes field trips/seminars, meant to provide more insights into neuroscientific experimentation. More details on this will be provided during the course.

Assessment method

Final exam consists of 36 multiple choice (80% of the final grade) and 4 open questions (20% of the final grade). The exam will be based on the assigned materials covered in lectures. You will be permitted to re-sit the exam if the calculated final grade is lower than 5,5.


  • PDF copies of PowerPoint presentations will be made available through Brightspace.

  • Detailed course information will be communicated by Brightspace.

Reading list

Scientific articles (reading list will be made available on Brightspace).


Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register via My Studymap up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.

It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration and confirmation in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Contact information

Co-ordinator: Dr. Moji Aghajani.