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Cognitive Psychology


Students of the Dutch bachelor’s programme, see Cognitieve Psychologie

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 allocate our attention and why, how do we recognize the world around us, how do we recognize words, how do we remember events and why do we make memory errors, how do we turn our thoughts into speech, 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 cognitive processes;

  • The methods for observing and measuring behavior;

  • 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



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course. The exception here is that first-year bachelor students are assigned and registered for all components in the first semester or academic year by the administration of their bachelor programme. The programme will communicate to these students for which course components and for which period the registration applies.


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

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

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current 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 of which the results are 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 Syllabus and Brightspace. 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