nl en

Human Potential: Theory


Admission Requirements

Master’s students Psychology with specialisation Applied Cognitive Psychology


In this course, a variety of approaches aimed at enhancing cognitive performance (e.g. vigilance, creativity, memory, productivity) is critically evaluated. Students will learn which techniques are applied, whether they really work, and how this is tested. The mechanisms behind cognitive enhancement are discussed in both a behavioral and a psychobiological framework.

Lecture overview:
1) Context: circadian rhythm, climate, order, music, light (G.Band)
2) State of the body: motivational states, cardio-vascular fitness, nutrition, stress, plasticity, reward (G.Band)
3) Cognitive training: mnemonics, mental imagery, speed-reading, self-regulation (J.van Muijden)
4) Cognitive training: sleep learning, serious gaming, mental challenge, engaging life style (J.van Muijden)
5) Drugs: improving attention, creativity, memory etc. (L.Colzato)
6) Mind set: meditation, hypnosis, mindfulness, spirituality, relaxation, flow, mood (L.Colzato)
7) Brain-machine interactions: neurofeedback, brain-computer interface, prosthetics (P.Haazebroek)
8) External support: robotics, external memory, life hacking, organizers, media (P.Haazebroek)

Course objectives

This is the theoretical part of the specialization in human potential. After this course, students have a complete overview of prevalent techniques for cognitive enhancement and their scientific status.


Human Potential: Theory (2011-2012)

Mode of instruction

Intensive master course

  • 9 meetings of 2 hours

  • 50% lecture, 50% student presentations

Assessment method

The assessment is based on:

  • Individual presentation

  • Two individual papers

  • Active participation is compulsory

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 available on

Reading list

  • Vernon, D. (2009). Human potential: exploring techniques used to enhance human performance. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN: 978-0-415-45770-5 (238 pages)

  • Selected journal articles (appr. 200 pages)

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. G. Band
Room 2A47
Tel: 071-5273998