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Methods and instruments in cognitive and affective neuroscience


NB Language of instruction is English

Admission requirements



The focus in MICAN is on knowledge about neuroscience methods and techniques in research context, in order to measure the biological origins of behavior, learning and emotion. In a series of two-hour sessions a range of methods and techniques will be discussed, including MRI, EEG, cognitive paradigms, genetics, saliva measures (hormones), psychophysiology (heart rate and skin conductance) and eyetracking. Many of the sessions will include a practical demonstration of the technique and software to analyze the data. Focus will be on: – type of questions that can be addressed using these techniques – do’s and don’ts – opportunities and limitations – experimental set-up – theoretical background of techniques.

The literature for each session is composed of two articles; links to full-text articles will be made available on blackboard. Students are required to formulate positive and negative points about the studies using the background information and upload this after each session. Attendance of a minimum of 80% of the sessions is required. The sessions are as follows:
1. Introductory session
2. Psychological experimental setup and paradigms
3. Neuro-imaging I: functional MRI, structural MRI, DTI, resting state networks
4. Neuro-imaging II: field trip to MRI scanner, safety training
5. Think aloud protocols
6. Eyetracking
8. Saliva measures
9. Genetics
10. Heart rate and skin conductance

The first session is an introductory session (no preparations); a short overview of cognitive and affective neuroscience methods will be provided, the outline of the course and final assignment will be discussed.

This is a 5 ECTS course. The total of 140 hours are used for the following activities:

  • 20 hours for attending the sessions (10 sessions of 2 hours each);

  • 80 hours preparation time for the sessions (8 hours per session, of which 7 hours are spent on reading the articles, and 1 hour is spent on formulation of the negative/positive points);

  • 40 hours for the final assignment (essay).

Course objectives

  • To learn about methods and instruments to examine neurocognition, behavioral genetics, psychophysiology, and brain structure and function;

  • Scientific writing in English for Researchmaster students.

  • Scientific writing in Dutch (English optional) for Master students.

Achievement levels Master Education and Child Studies: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18.
Achievement levels Research Master: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9.



Mode of instruction:

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment method

Essay: 100%

Essay: Write a research proposal (max 2500 words) on ‘Klinefelter syndrome’, incorporating methods and techniques as discussed in this course. Review articles on Klinefelter syndrome will be provided. The proposal will be evaluated with regard to the degree students show knowledge about how to apply the methods and techniques in research in order to understand mechanisms of cognitive and affective neuroscience. Researchmasters write the paper in English, masterstudents write the paper in Dutch (English optional).Specific instructions for the final assignment, including evaluation criteria, will be provided. Students can retake the final assignment, however the retake essay should include new research plans. The final mark, and not the highest mark will count.


  • PDF copies of PowerPoint presentations will be made available through Blackboard

  • detailed course information will be communicated by Blackboard. Student assignments are uploaded on Blackboard.

Reading list

Part of course documents, links to full-text will be made available on Blackboard.


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

Contact information

Co-ordinator: dr. S. van Rijn.
Hours: one hour after classes.