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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 action control. Guided by the instructor, students cover a selection of papers focused 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 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.

Each student will choose one topic to follow in-depth and will present this topic to peers under the meeting themes. These presentations – guided by the instructor – will form the bedrock for the written reports.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will have acquired skills that are essential for researchers working in the area of cognitive neuroscience, namely:

  • Extract recent developments in the area of action control from peer-reviewed literature;

  • Find the links between theory, methods, and data that enable the study of action control;

  • Identify the sources of the gaps towards understanding action control – may they be empirical or theoretical in nature.

  • Work in a team of peers with shared interests and diverse backgrounds


Meeting 1: Introduction and choice of topic
Meeting 2: Introduction to the chosen topic
Meeting 3: Theoretical approaches
Meeting 4: Methodological approaches
Meeting 5: Theoretical implications of methodological limitations
Meeting 6: Methodological approaches for the future
Meeting 7: Theoretical approaches for the future

For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

7 2-hour work group sessions.

Assessment method

The assessment of the course is based on:
50% Written Report
50% Oral presentations

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. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. 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

  1. Peer-reviewed literature in the area of cognitive neuroscience.
  2. Peer-reviewed review articles summarizing diverse fields linking to action control.

For example:

C. elegans locomotion: small circuits, complex functions

Descending Pathways in Motor Control

Error Correction, Sensory Prediction, and Adaptation in Motor Control

Assembly and Function of Spinal Circuits for Motor Control

The Neurocognitive Bases of Human Volition

Contact information

dr. A. Ghosh