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Educational Neuroscience


Entry Requirements

This course is only available for Master’s students in Psychology with specialisation School Psychology


Cognitive developmental neuroscience is the study of how changes in the developing brain lead to changes in specific cognitive functions. In the context of school psychology, this relates to functions like attention, memory and cognitive flexibility as well as responsivity to stress or social exclusion. Knowing how the brain changes can provide a critical backbone to understanding the developmental changes one can observe in cognition and behavior especially in- and outside the classroom. With an increasing awareness of neuroscience in society, it is important to provide school psychologists with the tools to help teachers, parents and students use this evidence to their best advantage. This entails debunking myths and common misperceptions as well as utilizing cutting edge neuroscience to tailor diagnoses and intervention programmes to individual needs.

The module consists of two parts. The theoretical part divided into lectures on: 1) basic principles of neuroscience; 2) how cognitive functions directly critical for learning such as learning and plasticity, attention and memory are instantiated in the brain, and; 3) factors that support healthy development in a school context, such as sleep, social and work-load related stress and quality of peer relationships and bullying.

The practical part will: 1) impart students the skills of how to apply their knowledge in a school setting; 2) provide insight into neuroscientifically derived training programmes of cognitive functions important in the classroom; 3) teach the tools of neuropsychological testing and diagnosis.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course a student:

  • can critically evaluate (neuro)scientific evidence;

  • can critically evaluate training programs aimed at improving cognitive functions in classroom settings;

  • is able to effectively communicate gained theoretical knowledge to various parties in school setting (i.e. children, teachers, parents).

  • has obtained advanced knowledge of basic principles of cognitive neuroscience, brain development and the tools used to study the brain;

  • has obtained advanced knowledge of behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying learning, memory, attention, and how this contributes to models and theories of executive functions;

  • has obtained advanced knowledge of behavioural and neural mechanisms and developmental change in sleep patterns and circadian rythms and the effects of and reactions to stress

  • has knowledge of neuropsychological assessments;


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 early August. 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)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

  • 7 2-hour lectures introducing basic principles and theories of cognitive neuroscience, brain development and cognitive and social functions subserved by the brain

  • 7 2-hour work group sessions focusing on acquisition of skills of how to use neuroscientific evidence in an applied fashion

Assessment method

2 written papers (each 50% of final mark)

The Institute of Psychology 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 this fraud policy.

Reading list

General articles

  • Thomas, M. S., Ansari, D., & Knowland, V. C. (2018). Annual Research Review: Educational neuroscience: progress and prospects. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Additional online-readings will be provided via Brightspace

Contact information

Dr. Lisa Schreuders