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Applied Cognitive Psychology


Entry requirements

All 60 ec of the first-year in Psychology obtained.


What can we do to prevent human errors in the workplace? How can we design products and interfaces such as apps and websites so that they are the most intuitive and efficient to use? Can we enhance our cognitive functions like memory, attention or creativity using videogames? What is the influence of sleep or diet on human performance? How can we evaluate the accuracy of witness statements in court? What is the optimal way to learn a new language or skill? These questions and many more fall within the scope of Applied Cognitive Psychology (ACP): the application of fundamental knowledge of cognitive psychology to almost all aspects of every-day modern life. Students will be introduced to important topics and methodologies within the field of ACP, learn to apply their knowledge of psychology to real life cases and apply critical and creative thinking to identify possible solutions.

Course objectives

Students will learn to:

  • Identify and characterize the topics and theories related to Applied Cognitive Psychology (ACP);

  • Critically evaluate the current state of research in the field of ACP; and

  • Analyse real-world problems and to provide practical solutions based on their theoretical knowledge of cognitive psychology.


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Semester 1: Lectures Work group sessions Exams

Semester 2: Lectures Work group sessions Exams



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study coordinator.

Exchange/Study abroad

For admission requirements, please contact your exchange coordinator


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 lectures and 2 series of 4 2-hour compulsory work group sessions.
In the lectures the basics of cognitive psychology are revisited in the light of applied psychology, important methodological principles are introduced, and 6 different topics in the applied cognitive field are discussed. In each series of the work group sessions, students will work in a small group on one ACP topic, and will learn to apply methods important in the field. For instance, by performing a case study, doing a task analysis or designing an experiment. In the work group sessions, students will discuss their progress, as well as review the work of their peers. The lectures are in English, as are the work group sessions.

Assessment method

Assessment will consist of a combined grade for both projects (60%), and an individual exam (40%).

Students will be graded individually for each project; this includes their engagement during peer-review and the quality of the final product. The final exam consists of 4 essay questions and several multiple-choice questions, and tests the knowledge acquired during the lectures and from self-study (literature, lecture slides). Exam questions are in English. However, students in the Dutch program can answer the essay questions in Dutch.

There is an optional online mid-term exam to prepare for the final exam, consisting of representative essay questions and multiple-choice questions. The mid-term will not be graded, but exemplary answers will be made available.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also 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 these three policies.

Reading list

Readings will be announced via Blackboard. Exemplary literature includes:

  • Jongkees, B. J., Hommel, B., Kühn, S., & Colzato, L. S. (2015). Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical populations and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands—a review. Journal of Psychiatric Research, In Press.

  • Colzato, L. S., Jongkees, B. J., Sellaro, R., & Hommel, B. (2013). Working memory reloaded: tyrosine repletes updating in the N-back task. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7:200.

  • Murphy, S. E., Longhitano, C., Ayres, R. E., Cowen, P. J., Harmer, C. J. (2006). Tryptophan supplementation induces a positive bias in the processing of emotional material in healthy female volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 187, 121-130. doi: 10.1007/s00213-006-0401-8

  • Boot, W. R., Blakely, D. P., & Simons, D. J. (2011). Do action video games improve perception and cognition? Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 226. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00226

  • Anguera, J. a., Boccanfuso, J., Rintoul, J. L., Al-Hashimi, O., Faraji, F., Janowich, J., … Gazzaley, A. (2013). Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults. Nature, 501(7465), 97–101. doi:10.1038/nature12486

  • Ballesteros, S., Kraft, E., Santana, S., & Tziraki, C. (2015). Maintaining Older Brain Functionality: A Targeted Review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews,55, 453–477. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.06.008

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