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Cognitive Psychology


Entry requirements



Cognitive psychology studies general human functions such as perception, attention, memory, language, thinking, decision-making and motor skills. Cognitive psychologists try to answer questions such as the following: How do we recognise words? How do we remember events? How do we turn our thoughts into speech? Why do we make mistakes? How do we solve problems and how do we improve our cognitive abilities? The objective of the discipline is to describe and provide an explanation for observable behaviour that can be measured in adequately controlled experiments.

Course objectives

This introductory course offers knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • The most important theories and models of various functions and functional disorders,

  • The methods for observing and measuring behavioural symptoms

  • Application of theoretical insights to practical situations.
    The experimental practical has the following objectives:

  • Knowledge of the way in which a scientific report is designed

  • Application of knowledge and understanding

  • Practical skills in carrying out cognitive psychological research and analysing and interpreting the results obtained


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures and 4 2-hour experimental practicals

The experimental practical consists of four sessions in a computer room in which demonstrations are given and behavioural experiments carried out the results of which can then be analysed and interpreted. Students are also required to write a short research report on one of these experiments in accordance with the APA norms. First-year full-time students are automatically assigned to a practical group; all other students have to register. For more information please consult the Experimental Practical workbook and Blackboard. Although you are allowed to miss one of the four practical sessions, we strongly advise you to attend all four: all the materials covered in the four sessions are included in the examination materials. In case of exceptional circumstances, you can submit a request to be allowed to swap groups for once.

Assessment method

The examination consists of (1) a multiple-choice examination of 40 questions on Goldberg & Van Hooff's book and on the CogLab Syllabus and (2) a short research report on an experiment. The final grade is a combination of the multiple-choice examination grade (70%) and the report grade (30%). The report grade is only registered once the practical assignments have been successfully completed. The partial grade for each of the two components remains valid, if need be also in the following academic year.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

Reading list

  1. Cognitive Psychology, E. Bruce Goldstein, Johanna (Hannie) C. van Hooff, 2nd edition ISBN: 9781473774353 (Published 2021) or 1st edition ISBN: 9781473734524 (Published: 2018)
  2. Cognitive Psychology CogLab Syllabus (available via Brightspace)

Contact information