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Neuromodulation of Cognition


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students. The students should have completed Cognitive Neuroscience or a similar course. For admission requirements, please contact your study advisor.


Neuromodulation of cognition refers to the process whereby the brain’s biology shapes cognition. In recent years there has been a considerable increase in knowledge of how cognition is shaped, for example, by various neurotransmitter systems and electrophysiology.

This course will provide mechanistic insight into the role of different neurotransmitters and electrophysiology in human cognition. We will also discuss several ways to manipulate neuromodulation experimentally in order to study the biological basis of cognition. Each course meeting aims to provide a deeper insight into the theoretical and methodological background of a current research interest. Examples include the role of dopamine in learning and executive control, the role of noradrenalin in attention and neural gain, and the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation on cortical excitability and synaptic plasticity.

On the basis of 8 seminar meetings, each student will 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

The course has as its main objective to provide mechanistic insight into the neuromodulation of cognition. At the end of the course, students will be able to use this knowledge to:
1. Explain the mechanisms by which neurotransmitters and electrophysiology shape cognition.
2. Formulate hypotheses on how certain drugs can influence cognition.
3. Critically evaluate studies that manipulate/enhance neuromodulation.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

8 seminars

Assessment method

The assessment is based on:

  • 33% One individual presentation

  • 33% One individual research proposal

  • 33% Exam

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

Readings available via Brightspace. Exemplary literature includes:

Cools, R. & D’Esposito M. (2011). Inverted U-shaped dopamine actions on human working memory and cognitive control. Biological Psychiatry, 69(12):e113-e125.

Contact information

Dr. Bryant Jongkees