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Cognitive Neuroscience of Action Control


Admission requirements

Research master students

Knowledge level as exemplified by Gazzaniga, M.S., Ivry, R., & Mangun, G.R. (2002). Cognitive neuroscience: the biology of the mind, 2nd edition. W.W. Norton.


This course is intended to review and discuss state-of-the-art developments in the cognitive neuroscience of attention and action control. The selection of topics is intended to change from year to year but will focus on the experimental analysis of action-control mechanisms in the widest sense.

Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical background of a current research interest—with an emphasis on controversies—and will be based on one or two publications, which either review a substantial body of recent research or make strong statements reflecting the different perspectives on the particular controversial issue.

On the basis of further reading assignments, each student will orally present a topic (using Power Point), and stimulate, lead, and organize further discussion in the group.
On the basis of the seminar meetings, each student will prepare an essay, which consists of a critical review of the literature relevant to the chosen topic, and recommendations for future research.

Course objectives

  • Students gain an overview of recent theoretical developments in the area of action control and a deeper insight into the relationship between control processes and brain functions.

  • They get a better understanding of how modern techniques to analyze brain processes and careful, creative experimenting can inform psychological theorizing.

  • They practice how to analyze associated methodological and theoretical problems and how to develop, communicate and defend their own opinion.


Cognitive Neuroscience of Action Control (2010-2011):

Mode of instruction

Seminar, Workgroups (supervised and unsupervised).

Assessment method

  • 20% active participation

  • 20% oral presentation

  • 60% research proposal

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Blackboard site available, enrolment mandatory.

Reading list

A selection of articles, available on Blackboard


Introduction and enrolment for courses of the first semester will take place on 2 September 2010. Introduction and enrolment for courses of the second semester will take place on 27 January 2011. More information will be available at the website of the Institute of Psychology.

NB: Exam registration will take place via uSis, and will be open between a month and a week before the (re)exam. Students who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the exam.

Contact information

Prof.dr. B. Hommel
Room 2B05