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Social Cognitive Neuroscience


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students.


Social cognitive neuroscience is an emerging scientific discipline that attempts to integrate the theories, methods and insights of cognitive psychology, social cognition and cognitive neuroscience. This course is intended to review and discuss state-of-the-art developments in this area, covering issues like self-perception, action perception and interpretation, imitation and the recognition of affect.

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 one or more publications, which either review a substantial body of recent research or make strong statements reflecting the different perspectives on the particular issue. On the basis of further reading assignments, each student will orally present at least one paper (using Power Point), write a blog, and 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 have acquired three skills that are essential for experimental researchers working in the area of cognitive neuroscience, namely:

  • Gain an overview of recent theoretical developments in the area of social cognitive neuroscience and a deeper insight into the relationship between cognitive, affective, and social 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

8 2-hour work group sessions.

Assessment method

The assessment is based on relatively:

  • 10% active participation

  • 10% blog

  • 20% oral presentation

  • 60% research proposal

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • Stanley, D.A., & Adolphs, R. (2013). Toward a neural basis for social behavior. Neuron, 80, 816-826.

  • Lieberman, M. D. (2012). A geographical history of social cognitive neuroscience. Neuroimage, 61, 432-436.

  • Ruff, C.C., & Huettel, S.A. (2013). Experimental methods in cognitive neuroscience. In P. Glimcher and E. Fehr (eds.), Neuroeconomics (2nd Edition). Academic Press.

Readings needs to be prepared for the first meeting!

Contact information

Prof.dr. Bernhard Hommel