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Neuromodulation of Cognition


Admission requirements

Students of MSc Psychology (research)


Cognitive processes are modulated by neurotransmitters, which do not convey specific information to a neuron but alter the way information it processes other inputs. In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in interest how cognition is shaped by neuromodulation and key roles of several transmitter systems were identified. This course is intended to review and discuss state-of-the-art developments in neuromodulation, covering issues like the roles of acetylcholine and serotonin in memory, of dopamine in learning and executive control, and of norepinephrine in visual attention.

Ways to manipulate neuromodulation experimentally to study the physiological bases of human cognition are also discussed; examples include manipulations of mood and affect, the induction of stress, and employment of drugs. Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical and methodological background of a current research interest. On the basis of seven seminar meetings , each student will prepare a research proposal, which consists of a critical review of the literature relevant to the chosen topic, and recommendations for future research.

Course objectives

The course has as its main objective the introduction to the basic approaches to neuromodulation of cognition.


Neuromodulation of Cognition(2011-2012):

Mode of instruction

Seven seminars

Assessment method

  • Active participation in seminars

  • 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 .


Information on

Reading list

Readings available via ‘Blackboard’. Exemplary literature includes:

  • Nieuwenhuis, S., Gilzenrat, M.S., Holmes, B.D., & Cohen, J.D. (2005). The role of the locus coeruleus in mediating the attentional blink: A neurocomputational theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 291-307.

  • Aarts E, van Holstein M and Cools R (2011) Striatal dopamine and the interface between motivation and cognition. Front. Psychology 2:163. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00163

  • Colzato, L. S., Hertsig, G., van den Wildenberg, W., & Hommel, B. (2010). Estrogen modulates inhibitory control in healthy human females: Evidence from the stop-signal paradigm. Neuroscience, 167, 709-715.

  • Colzato, L. S., van den Wildenberg, W., van der Does, W.A.J., & Hommel, B. (2010). Genetic Markers of Striatal Dopamine Predict Individual Differences in Dysfunctional, but not Functional Impulsivity. Neuroscience, 170, 782-788.

Master’s introduction and enrolment day

Make a reservation in your agenda so you will not miss any information that you will need during your master’s programme MSc in Psychology. Please consult the Agenda master meetings

Contact information

Dr. L. Colzato
Room 2A41
Phone 071-5273407