This course is only available for Master’s students in Psychology with specialisation School Psychology
Cognitive developmental neuroscience is the study of how changes in the developing brain lead to changes in specific cognitive functions. In the context of school psychology, this relates to functions like attention, memory and cognitive flexibility as well as responsivity to stress or social exclusion. Knowing how the brain changes can provide a critical backbone to understanding the developmental changes one can observe in cognition and behavior especially in- and outside the classroom. With an increasing awareness of neuroscience in society, it is important to provide school psychologists with the tools to help teachers, parents and students use this evidence to their best advantage. This entails debunking myths and common misperceptions as well as utilizing cutting edge neuroscience to tailor diagnoses and intervention programmes to individual needs.
The module consists of two parts. The theoretical part divided into lectures on:
1) basic principles of neuroscience;
2) how cognitive functions directly critical for learning such as learning and plasticity, attention and memory are instantiated in the brain, and;
3) factors that support healthy development in a school context, such as sleep, social and work-load related stress and quality of peer relationships and bullying.
The practical part will:
1) impart students the skills of how to apply their knowledge in a school setting;
2) provide insight into neuroscientifically derived training programmes of cognitive functions important in the classroom;
3) teach the tools of neuropsychological testing and diagnosis.
Upon completing this course a student:
has obtained advanced knowledged of basic principles of cognitive neuroscience, brain development and the tools used to study the brain;
has obtained advanced knowledged of neural mechanisms underlying learning, memory, attention, and how this contributes to models and theories of executive functions; and
has obtained advanced knowledged of neural mechanism and developmental change in sleep patterns and circadian rythms and the effects of and reactions to stress.
can critically evaluate neuroscientific evidence;
can carry out neuropsychological assessments;
can carry out training programs aimed at improving cognitive functions in classroom settings;
is able to effectively communicate gained theoretical knowledge to various parties in school setting (i.e. children, teachers, parents).
For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration
Students are not automatically enrolled for the examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar dates before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams
Mode of instruction
7 2-hour lectures introducing basic principles and theories of cognitive neuroscience, brain development and cognitive and social functions subserved by the brain
7 2-hour work group sessions focusing on acquisition of skills of how to use neuroscientific evidence in an applied fashion
3 written papers (70% of final mark)
theoretical aspect of course; critical evaluation of a study; case study
one final oral presentation (30% of final mark)
The Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences has instituted that instructors use of a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary action will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud
Daniel Miller (2013). Essentials of School Neuropsychological Assessment, 2nd Edition. Wiley
Mareschal, Butterworth, & Tolmie (2013). Educational Neuroscience. Blackwell
General articles - McCandliss, B. (2010). Educational neuroscience: The early years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 8049-8050.
- Meltoff, A., Kuhl, P.K., Movellan, J., & Sejnowsk, T. (2009). Foundations of a New Science of Learning. Science, 325, 284-288.
Additional online-readings will be provided via Blackboard
Dr. Nikolaus Steinbeis