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Cognitive Neuroscience of Action Control


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students


This course is intended to provide an overview of, and discuss state-of-the-art developments in the cognitive neuroscience of attention and action control. The selection of papers focuses on the experimental analysis of action-control mechanisms including goal representation, action selection, action planning, sequential action planning, multitasking, and error monitoring.

Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical background of research on one of these core mechanisms—with an emphasis on controversies— and will be based on one or more key papers that either review a substantial body of recent research or make strong statements reflecting the different perspectives on the 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 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 work groups meetings, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables




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

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour work group sessions.

Assessment method

The assessment of the course is based on:
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

Hommel, B., Brown, S.B.R.E., & Nattkemper, D. (2016). Human action control: From intentions to movements. Switzerland: Springer. Chapter 1 needs to be prepared for the first meeting.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Bernhard Hommel