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Cognitive Neuroscience of Action Control


Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students


This course is intended to review and discuss state-of-the-art developments in the cognitive neuroscience of attention and action control. The selection of topics is intended to change from year to year but will focus on the experimental analysis of action-control mechanisms in the widest sense.

Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical background of a current research interest—with an emphasis on controversies—and will be based on a paper that either reviews a substantial body of recent research or makes strong statements reflecting the different perspectives on the particular controversial issue. On the basis of further reading assignments, each student will orally present at least one paper (using Power Point), write a blog, and stimulate, lead, and organize further discussion in the group. On the basis of the seminar meetings, each student will prepare a research proposal, which consists of a critical review of the literature relevant to the chosen topic, and recommendations for future research.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Gain an overview of recent theoretical developments in the area of action control and a deeper insight into the relationship between control processes and brain functions;

  • Get a better understanding of how modern techniques to analyse brain processes and careful, creative experimenting can inform psychological theorizing; and

  • Practice how to analyse associated methodological and theoretical problems and how to develop, communicate and defend their own opinion.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course 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

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The assessment of the course is based on:

  • 10% active participation

  • 10% blog

  • 20% oral presentation

  • 60% research proposal

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

  • de Wit, S., & Dickinson, A. (2009). Associative theories of goal-directed behaviour: A case for animal-human translational models. Psychological Research, 73, 463-476.

  • Hommel, B. (2009). Action control according to TEC (theory of event coding). Psychological Research, 73, 512-526.

  • Wegner, D.M. (2002). The Illusion of Conscious Will. MIT press. [pages 1-98]

Contact information

Prof.dr. Bernhard Hommel