nl en

Neuromodulation of Cognition


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students. For admission requirements, please contact your study advisor.


Neuromodulation is the process whereby neurochemicals adapt the output of structurally-fixed neural networks. In this course, we will focus on how neuromodulation shapes cognition and, more broadly, we will examine the role of various neurotransmitter systems and electrophysiology in key cognitive processes.

This course will provide mechanistic insight into the role of different neurotransmitters and electrophysiology in human cognition. We will also discuss several ways to manipulate neuromodulation experimentally, in order to study the biological basis of cognition. Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical and methodological background of a current research interest. Examples include the role of dopamine in executive control and value-based decision making, the role of noradrenalin in attention and neural gain, and the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation on cortical excitability and synaptic plasticity.

As part of the seminar meetings, each student will present an empirical paper that relates to or illustrates a principle of neuromodulation. Each student also prepares a research proposal on a topic within the field of neuromodulation of cognition, including a critical review of the relevant literature and a concrete suggestion for future research. Lastly, the course closes with an open question (essay) exam based on the topics covered during the seminar meetings.

Course objectives

The course has as its main objective to provide mechanistic insight into the neuromodulation of cognition. At the end of the course, students will be able to use this knowledge to:
1. Explain the mechanisms by which neurotransmitters and electrophysiology shape cognition.
2. Formulate hypotheses on how certain drugs can influence cognition.
3. Critically evaluate studies that manipulate/enhance neuromodulation.


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.


It is mandatory for all 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.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

8 seminars

Assessment method

The assessment is based on:

  • 33% One individual presentation

  • 33% One individual research proposal

  • 33% Open question (essay) exam

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

Readings available via Brightspace. Exemplary literature includes:

Cools, R. (2019). Chemistry of the adaptive mind: lessons from dopamine. Neuron, 104, 113-131.

Contact information

Dr. Bryant Jongkees