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Improving Human Performance in Practice (HPP)


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with the specialisation:

  • Applied Cognitive Psychology

  • Occupational Health Psychology


This course complements the course Evidence based Cognitive Enhancement (ECE). In which settings can theoretical knowledge be applied to enhance productivity, creativity, memory, well-being and self-regulation? The course focuses on the translation from cognitive theories to entries for cognitive enhancement in a variety of (job) contexts. The knowledge acquired here can be applied by (human resource) managers, educators and people working with older adults; in product development, governmental policy and public interest.

Lecture overview (attendance mandatory):
1) Introduction + Work and task analyses (G. Band)
2) Cognitive enhancement at work and the digital employee (G. Band)
3) Cognitive enhancement in aging (G. Band)
4) Cognitive enhancement in education, sport and creativity (G. Band)
5) Human error at work (J. Groeneweg)
6) Ethics in enhancement (J. Groeneweg)
7-8) Current topic (guest lecturer)

Students will perform 2 practical analyses on the basis of interviews and literature reviews. A group-wise analysis involves the observation of cognitive ergonomic factors limiting performance at the workplace. An individual analysis involves interviews and literature study to inspect the potential for improvements in a workplace. Both analyses will culminate in written reports.

Course objectives

After this course, students will:

1) have obtained knowledge regarding the application of cognitive enhancement and ergonomics techniques in a variety of fields and contexts (i.e. different jobs and different environments).
2) have practical experience with performing cognitive ergonomics and cognitive enhancement analysis in the workplace.
3) be able to write analysis reports in a style suitable for both academic and professional purposes (e.g. as consultants for a company).


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

Lectures Workgroups



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 x 2-hour lectures (attendance is mandatory)
4 x 2-hour work group session (attendance is mandatory)
1 x Site visit (attendance is mandatory for 1 out of 2 visits).

Two site visits will be offered, there will be limited spaces per visit. Attendance to one of the two visits is mandatory. Visits may take up to 4 hours (including travel).

Weblectures will not be made available for all lectures.

Assessment method

1 x exam with essay questions (1/3rd of grade)

The exam will cover the literature accompanying the lectures, the lecture slides and the site visit. The exam corresponds mainly to course objective 1.

1 x group analysis assignment (1/3rd of grade)
1 x individual analysis assignment (1/3rd of grade)

The analysis assignments correspond mainly to course objectives 2 and 3.

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

Individual literature to be selected by the student (appr. 200 pages), as needed for the analysis assignments.

Selected journal articles (appr. 250 pages), below are examples of the literature (the exact papers might differ, but will all be accessible at the start of the course):

Daffner, K R. (2010). Promoting successful cognitive aging: A comprehensive review. Journal of Alzheimer, 19(4), 1101-1122.
Deci, E L, & Ryan, R M. (2008). Facilitating optimal motivation and psychological well-being across life. Canadian Psychology, 49(1), 14-23.
Dunlosky, J. et al. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the public interest, 14, 4-58.
Hansen, M, Janssen, I, Schiff, A, et al. (2005). The impact of school daily schedule on adolescent sleep. Pediatrics, 115(6), 1555-1561.
Hattie, J, & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.
Kanfer, R, & Ackerman, PL. (2004). Aging, adult development, and work motivation. The Academy of Management review, 29(3), 440-458.
Oudejans, & Nieuwenhuys, A. (2009). Perceiving and moving in sports and other high-pressure contexts. M. Raab et al. (Eds) Progress in brain research, 174, Amsterdam,: Elsevier.
Greely, H, Sahakian, B, Harris, J, et al. (2008). Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy. Nature, 456(7223), 702-705.
Scott, G, Leritz, LE, & Mumford, MD. (2004). The effectiveness of creativity training: A quantitative review. Creativity research journal, 16(4), 361-388.

Contact information

Kerwin J.F. Olfers MSc