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Cognition, or how the Brain Works


Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an honours elective in the Honours College programme. There are limited spots available for non honours students. Admission will be based on motivation.


The aim of this Honours Class is to provide a comprehensive view on how the brain functions. The invited faculty consists of renowned experts in the field of cognitive neuroscience. The topics that will be discussed include brain development, dementia, stress, brain-computer interfaces and sleep.

This Honours Class is supported by the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC) and several leaders of this institute will be involved in its programming.

Course objectives

The course objective is that upon successful completion, the student needs to have a comprehensive view on how the brain functions.


Thursdays: January 18; February 8 and 22; March 8, 15 and 22; April 5 and 19 and May 17 between 17.15-21.00 hours (17.15-18.00 hours get-together with soup and rolls. The session is scheduled from 18.00-21.00 hours). On May 24 the session is from 19.00-23.00 hours.


LUMC room H1-18 and H1-14. On May 24: Faculty Club


Tentative schedule:
January 18: Coming together, brief overview of the Honours Class and student assignment
February 8: Brain and Cognition. Dr. Egbert Lakke (LUMC)
February 22: Brain-computer interfaces. Prof. dr. Nick Ramsey (UMC Utrecht)
March 8: Brain Hedonics. Dr. Lotte van Dillen (UL, FSW)
March 15: Language development in children. Prof. dr. Claartje Levelt (LUCL and LIBC)
March 22: Imaging brain networks. Prof. dr. Serge Rombouts (LUMC and LIBC)
April 5: The Alzheimer Mystery. Prof.dr. Wiesje van der Flier (VUmc, Amsterdam)
April 19: Resilience to Stress. Prof. dr. Nic van der Wee (LUMC and LIBC)
May 17: The Sleeples Brain. Prof.dr.Eus van Someren (NHI and VU, Amsterdam)
May 24: The magic of putting theory into practice. Drs. E. Wismeijer (Yulius)

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 10 sessions of 4 hours

  • Literature reading: 5 hours per session

  • Session organization: 15 hours

  • Assignments & final essay: 40 hours

Assessment method

  • 20% Organising a session

  • 10% Active participation in the sessions

  • 70% Final essay (minimum of 2000 words)
    Students need to get a pass for each item.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

The reading materials for the individual sessions will be posted on Blackboard and distributed by email.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 6th until Thursday November 16th 23.59 hrs through the Honours Academy, via this link. It is not necessary to register in uSis.


dr. Nelleke Gruis