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Social Cognitive Neuroscience


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

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, they will be able:

  • to distinguish between, and debate about methodological and theoretical developments in the area of social cognitive neuroscience;

  • to develop, communicate, and defend their own opinions;

  • to generate new research ideas and effectively design studies to test those ideas.


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


Not applicable.
See Assessment Method

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour work group sessions.

Assessment method

The assessment is based on relatively:

  • 20% 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

Dr. Milica Nikolic