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Cognitive Psychology



Cognitive psychology studies general human functions such as perception, attention, memory, language, thinking, decision making and movement. Cognitive psychologists try to answer questions such as: how do we recognize words, how do we remember events, how do we convert thoughts into speech, why do we make mistakes, how do we solve problems, and how do we improve our cognitive abilities? The aim of the discipline is to observe, describe and explain behaviour in measureable well-controlled experiments. In this introductory course information and insights are offered regarding:

  • The main theories and models for the various functions and dysfunctions;

  • The methods used to observe and measure behavioural phenomena;

  • The practical application of theoretical insights to actual situations.

Practicals: The practicals consists of four mandatory meetings in computer rooms, where behavioural experiments will be conducted and the data obtained will be analysed and interpreted. Students will be required to write a brief research report on one chosen experiment according to APA guidelines. First-year full-time students will be automatically assigned to a practical group; other students must register themselves. For more information, see Blackboard.

Note: practical sessions are mandatory and may only be missed in exceptional personal circumstances, at the discretion of the coordinator, Dr. Akerboom. For more information on the practicals, see the accompanying syllabus, Cognitive Psychology Lab, and Blackboard.

Test-to-learn: In keeping with “blended learning” principles, a test (TTL) will be available on Blackboard prior to every lecture, to allow students to refresh existing knowledge and prepare for the topics to be discussed in the lecture. Taking these tests is not obligatory, but is highly recommended!

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge of the historical developments that resulted in the discipline of cognitive psychology (psychonomics).

  • Knowledge of the main theories about perception, attention, memory, thinking, decision making and language.

  • Knowledge of functional disorders and their interpretation within cognitive neuropsychology

  • Knowledge of the research methods used within cognitive and cognitive neuropsychology.

  • Knowledge of the correct structure of a scientific report.

Applying knowledge and understanding

  • Practical skills in conducting behavioural research in cognitive-psychology and analysing and interpreting the results.


  • Writing a short research report in the form of a scientific article.



First-year students will automatically be registered for the course.


Students will not be automatically enrolled for an examination — they can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.


Cognitive Psychology (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

The Cognitive Psychology course comprises 8 two-hour lectures. Prior to each lecture the slides may be downloaded from Blackboard. Blackboard also offers additional learning material which supports the exam material (Test-To-Learn questions, Test-To-Check questions, reading guides, videos and demos).

There is also a series of practicals, consisting of four two-hour meetings where classical experiments in cognitive psychology will be explained and carried out, and the results analyzed and interpreted.


The written examination consist of two parts: (1) 40 multiple choice questions on the handbook by Groome and (2) a number of essay-questions on the contents of the practicals and the Coglab reader. These two parts of the exam will be administered simultaneously.

The final grade will be a weighted average of the multiple choice exam (70%) and the essay exam (30%). The grade for the essay exam is only registered when all Coglab assignments, including the research report, are successfully completed. A pass from one of the two assessed components may be carried over to a second year.

Compensation. A fail grade of 5,0 or more on one of the exams can be compensated by a sufficiently high pass on the other exam. The final grade will be rounded off on units and halves, with the exception of a 5,50 (final grade = 6).

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences implemented the Ephorus system on 1 January 2006, for use by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Timetable, lecture slides, Test-To-Learn, Test-To-Check, reading guides, videos and demos.


  • Boek: An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders. David Groome e.a. Third edition (2014). Psychology Press. ISBN: 978-1-84872-092-3.

  • Syllabus Cognitive Psychology Labs. Students may order the syllabus via Readeronline

If you are a member of the study association Labyrint you may purchase books at a reduced price via their study book service. Alternatively there are the academic book shops.


Cognitive psychology