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Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience


Admission requirements

MSc Psychology (research) students


Developmental cognitive neuroscience investigates the relations between brain development and cognitive, affective and social development. This class will cover the biological bases of cognitive and affective functioning from a developmental perspective, focusing on childhood and adolescence. Fundamental questions that will be covered include: How does brain development, including changes in function, morphology, and connectivity, relate to typical and atypical development of cognitive and affective functions, such as learning, attention, memory, motivation and decision-making? How do genetic and environmental questions interact during the course of development to shape the brain, mind and behavior?

Course objectives

  • Explore relevant theoretical debates in developmental science and neuroscience methods used to address the relevant questions in this field.

  • Consideration of the major methods of developmental cognitive neuroscience including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), recordings of evoked response potentials (ERPs), and behavioral marker tasks. We will devote particular attention to the unique challenges of applying these methods to the study of children.

  • Give group presentations on relevant articles and write a research proposal that will be presented in a poster session.


Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (2013-2014):

  • Lectures

Mode of instruction

Class sessions will usually consist of a short lecture period followed by a student led group presentation and discussion of the week’s readings. Students will be responsible for each week’s assigned readings. The class will revolve around discussion of these readings. To facilitate discussion, students should prepare three questions that arose for them while reading the week’s material.

Student groups will be arranged, and each group will be responsible for co-leading one or more class discussions. Groups may reserve topics. In addition to weekly discussion questions, a major research proposal will be due on the last day of class. Students will give a final presentation regarding their proposal.

Assessment method

The assessment for this course is based on

  • Class Participation (30%): (1) Come to class having done all of the readings, and prepared to discuss them; (2) Write 3 discussion questions each week for distribution to the class.

  • Leading Discussion (30%): Take a turn in leading the discussion, and giving an overview, on the topic and the week’s readings.

  • Paper (40%): Write an ~5 page research proposal on the topic of your choice in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

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

  • All readings (journal articles) will be made available for download on the course website in pdf format.

Exemplary literature list Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Crone EA, Ridderinkhof KR. (2011). The developing brain: from theory to neuroimaging and back. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 101-109.

  • Scherf KS, Behrmann M, Dahl RE. (2012). Facing changes and changing faces in adolescence: a new model for investigating adolescent-specific interactions between pubertal, brain and behavioral development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2, 1999-219.

  • Galvan A. (2010. Adolescent development of the reward system. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 4:6.

  • Blakemore SJ & Robbins, TW (2012). Decision-making in the adolescent brain. Nature Neuroscience, 9, 1184-1191.

Contact information

Dr. A.C.K. van Duijvenvoorde
Room 3B31
Tel.: +31 (0)71 527 3853