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Admission requirements

An introduction to Cognitive Psychology is recommended.
This course is a prerequisite for admission to Cognitieve Ergonomie (Cognitive Ergonomics) and Cognitieve Neurowetenschap (Cognitive Neuroscience).


Consciousness is one of the most colourful concepts in science. Even though it is still difficult to say what consciousness actually is (the philosophical question), there is quite some progress regarding the issue of how consciousness works (the psychological question). This course will discuss theories and findings on the function and malfunction of consciousness and address issues such as whether free will is an illusion, whether animals and robots are conscious, how conscious processes are neurally generated, and how drugs, dreams, and meditation affect conscious experience

Course objectives

The student has gained a broad overview of classical and modern theories on consciousness, and a deeper insight into how theoretical concepts and hypotheses in this area can be applied to empirical phenomena and practical problems.


  • Kennis en inzicht: De student heeft algemene kennis over theorieën op het gebied van het menselijke bewustzijn alsmede over methodologische grondslagen van het vak.

  • Toepassen kennis en inzicht (academische vaardigheden): De student is in staat een selectie van kennis over bewustzijn en gerelateerde cognitieve processen toe te passen. Hij/zij kan een aantal theoretische en praktijkproblemen analyseren, conceptualiseren en suggesties aandragen voor een empirische toetsing. De student is in staat eenvoudig experimenteel onderzoek te ontwerpen om de waarde van zijn/haar theoretische redenering te toetsen.

  • Algemene professionele vaardigheden: De student is in staat gebruik te maken van ICT en de analyses, redeneringen en aanbevelingen schriftelijk te rapporteren aan vakgenoten en aan een breder publiek.


Consciousness (2012-2013):

Mode of instruction

The course consists of:

  • 12 lectures in English

  • 2 obligatory work-group meetings of 2h in Dutch or English. Students choose 1 or 2 (tba) topics, which relate to applications, fundamental questions, or key phenomena of/in cognitive psychology. Meetings will be devoted to discussing the topic and rules for writing a scientific report. Written reports are due 2 weeks after the second meeting

  • a final exam

Topics for the workgroups can be found on blackboard

Assessment method

  • Final exam. 40 multiple choice questions in English. Dictionaries are permitted. Passing criterium=27 questions correct.

  • Essay. Work-group meetings are obligatory. The report will be graded and a 6.0 or higher is necessary to pass. The final grade is the grade from the exam.


Information on

Reading list

Blackmore, S. (2010). Consciousness: An introduction. Hodder & Stoughton.


Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the (re)exam

Contact information

Prof. Dr. B. Hommel
E-mail via:
Mw Dr. F. Poletiek
E-mail via: