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Admission requirements

An introduction to Cognitive Psychology is recommended.
This course is a prerequisite for admission to Cognitieve Ergonomie (Cognitive Ergonomics) and Cognitieve Neurowetenschap (Cognitive Neuroscience).


Consciousness is one of the most colourful concepts in science. Even though it is still difficult to say what consciousness actually is (the philosophical question), there is quite some progress regarding the issue of how consciousness works (the psychological question). The lecture will discuss theories and findings on the function and malfunction of consciousness and address issues such as whether free will is an illusion, whether animals and robots are conscious, how conscious processes are neurally generated, and how drugs, dreams, and meditation affect conscious experience. The workgroup topics are related to aspects, sub-functions or applications of consciousness, highlighting controversies that students work out in an academic paper (workgroup assignments). The purpose of the workgroups is to guide the student through the paper writing assignment.

Course objectives

1) The student will gain a broad overview of classical and modern theories on consciousness, and a deeper insight into how theoretical concepts and hypotheses in this area can be applied to empirical phenomena and practical problems.

2) The student learns to write and (peer) review an academic paper, and to respond to reviews. The skills trained are (English) academic writing, searching scientific literature, analyzing, reasoning, reporting, applying editorial guidelines, and reviewing.

  • Knowledge and understanding: Students will acquire general knowledge about theories of human consciousness as well as methodological foundations of the profession.

  • Apply knowledge and understanding (academic skills): Students will learn to apply a selection of knowledge about consciousness and related cognitive processes. He / she will have a number of theoretical and practical problems to analyse and conceptualize and will need to make suggestions for empirical testing.

  • The student will write a scientific article on the subject assigned to the Work Group.

  • The student will evaluate the papers of fellow students.

  • General professional skills: Students learn about scientific reporting and assessment of the literature, applying editorial recommendations (APA), making use of ICT and analyses, and how to use reasoning and recommendations in writing for colleagues and for a wider audience.


Consciousness (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

The course consists of:

  • 12 lectures in English

  • 2 obligatory work-group meetings of 2h in Dutch or English. Students choose 1 or 2 (tba) topics, which relate to applications, fundamental questions, or key phenomena related to consciousness. Meetings will be devoted to discussing the topic (first meeting) and rules for writing and reviewing a scientific paper. Papers are due 2 weeks after the second meeting. Deadlines for reviews will be published on blackboard.

  • an exam

Topics for the workgroups can be found on blackboard

Assessment method

  • Final exam. 40 multiple choice questions in English. Passing criterium=27 questions correct.

  • Essay. Work-group meetings are obligatory. The paper will be graded and a 6.0 or higher is necessary to pass. The final grade is a weighted average of the grade from the exam (w=75%) and the paper (25%).

Reading list

Blackmore, S. (2010). Consciousness: An introduction. Hodder & Stoughton.


Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered in time, cannot participate in the (re)exam

Contact information

Prof. Dr. B. Hommel
E-mail via:
Drs. J. Memelink
E-mail: J. Bomans-Memelink