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Applied Cognitive Psychology


The course information below is from academic year 2016-2017. As of 1 July 2017 this information will be updated for academic year 2017-2018.

Entry requirements

First-year examination in Psychology


What can we do to prevent human errors in the workplace? How can we design products and interfaces such as websites so that they are the most intuitive and efficient to use? Can we enhance our cognitive functions like memory, attention or creativity using videogames? What is the influence of sleep or diet on human performance? How can we evaluate the accuracy of witness statements in court? What is the optimal way to learn a new language or skill? Can robots identify, or even have, emotions? These questions and many more fall within the scope of Applied Cognitive Psychology (ACP): the application of fundamental knowledge of cognitive psychology to almost all aspects of every-day modern life. Students will be introduced to important topics and methodologies within the field of ACP, learn to apply their knowledge of psychology to real life cases and apply critical and creative thinking to identify possible solutions.

Course objectives

Students will learn to:

  • Identify and characterize the topics and theories related to Applied Cognitive Psychology (ACP);

  • Critically evaluate the current state of research in the field of ACP; and

  • Analyse real-world problems and to provide practical solutions based on their theoretical knowledge of cognitive psychology.


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Work group sessions



Students need to register for lectures, workgroups and exams.
Instructions for registration in courses for the 2nd and 3rd year

For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Elective students have to enroll for each course separately. For admission requirements contact your study coordinator.

Exchange/Study abroad

For admission requirements, please contact your exchange coordinator


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures and 2 series of 4 2-hour compulsory work group sessions.
In the lectures the basics of cognitive psychology are revisited in the light of applied psychology, important methodological principles are introduced, and 6 different topics in the applied cognitive field are discussed. In each seriesof the work group sessions, students will work in a small group on one of the topics introduced in the lectures, and will learn to apply one of the methods important to that field. For instance, by performing a case study, doing a task analysis or designing an experiment. In the work group sessions, students will discuss their progress, as well as review the work of their peers.

Assessment method

Asessment will consist of a combined grade for both projects (60%), and an individual exam (40%).

Students will be graded individually for each project; this includes their engagement during peer-review and the quality of the final product. The final exam consists of 4 essay questions and several multiple choice questions, and tests the knowledge acquired during the lectures and from self-study. There will be an optional mid-term exam to prepare for the final exam, this will consist of 2 essay questions and several multiple choice questions, relating to the first 4 lectures. Mid-term will not be graded, but exemplary answers will be made available.

Regulations on grade calculations

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 will be announced via Blackboard. Exemplary literature includes:

  • Jongkees, B. J., Hommel, B., Kühn, S., & Colzato, L. S. (2015). Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical populations and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands—a review. Journal of Psychiatric Research, In Press.

  • Colzato, L. S., Jongkees, B. J., Sellaro, R., & Hommel, B. (2013). Working memory reloaded: tyrosine repletes updating in the N-back task. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7:200.

  • Murphy, S. E., Longhitano, C., Ayres, R. E., Cowen, P. J., Harmer, C. J. (2006). Tryptophan supplementation induces a positive bias in the processing of emotional material in healthy female volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 187, 121-130. doi: 10.1007/s00213-006-0401-8

  • Boot, W. R., Blakely, D. P., & Simons, D. J. (2011). Do action video games improve perception and cognition? Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 226. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00226

  • Anguera, J. a., Boccanfuso, J., Rintoul, J. L., Al-Hashimi, O., Faraji, F., Janowich, J., … Gazzaley, A. (2013). Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults. Nature, 501(7465), 97–101. doi:10.1038/nature12486

  • Ballesteros, S., Kraft, E., Santana, S., & Tziraki, C. (2015). Maintaining Older Brain Functionality: A Targeted Review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews,55, 453–477. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.06.008

Contact information