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Cognitive Psychology (IBP)


For students following the Dutch programme, see Cognitieve Psychologie


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 describe and explain behaviour that is observable, and measureable in 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.

Experiment Practicals: The experiment practicals consist of four meetings in computer rooms, where demonstrations are given of 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 (meeting 3) 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: Experiment 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, Experiment practicals, 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!

Test-to-check: One or two weeks before the examination, a practice test will be made available on Blackboard.

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-psychological research and analyzing and interpreting the results obtained.

  • Learning to write a short research report about a behavioural study in the form of a scientific article.


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



First year students are automatically enrolled in the courses. Other students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration


Students are not 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. Registering for exams


Cognitive Psychology (2014-2015):

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 experiment 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. Students will have to analyze and interpret the data obtained during the practical. In addition they have to write a short research report on one of the studies conducted.


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 accompanying 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 lab 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 to whole and half numbers, with the exception of a 5,50.

For the final grade to be a 5.0 or a 6.0, rounding off rules are:
≥ 4.75 and


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


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

  • Experiment lab Reader. Students may order via Readeronline

Labyrint Book Service

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

Experiment Practicals