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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Education BSS Minor

Minor Psychology of Cognition, Development, and Performance

ECTS: 30
Code: MPCDP30


This University Minor focuses on human information processing with regard to acquiring competences, in a developmental context.

Knowledge about perception, attention, and information processing are crucial for performance. How these work and interact are topics that the courses in the minor deal with. Other topics are: how mental performance changes over time, e.g., as a result of ageing, how mental condition and goals affect performance, in particular in applied fields such as sports psychology. Task analysis and increased knowledge on how human error occurs, and how can it be reduced, increase understanding of mental processes and can lead to improved performance and safety.

In this minor you will

• Learn about psychological theories, and explain the functioning of the human information processing system in terms of cognitive theories.

• comprehend how healthy people function in daily life and how performance and safety can be improved in applied settings such as sports and traffic

• understand the effects of an ageing brain on performance and propose potential countermeasures

Student capacity



Contact: Dick de Waard

...but please adress questions with regard to whether you are enrolled to the student service desk: Onderwijsbalie GMW <>

Download the Minor Psychology of Cognition, Development, and Performance leaflet


Enrolment is possible from May 19 (from 13:30 CEST), up to July 31 2021.


Obligatory courses Course code Semester
Introduction to Psychological Theories PSMIN11 1a
Cognitive Psychology [*] PSMIN12 1a
[*] Not obligatory for AI students (choose another elective course instead)

Elective courses Course code Semester
Sport and Performance Psychology PSMIN14 1a
Traffic Psychology & Sustainable Mobility PSMIN10 1a
Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology PSMIN13 1a
Human Error PSMIN05 1b
Perception PSMIN15 1b
Gerontology PSMIN16 1b
Learning: Theory and Practice PSMIN17 1b

Description of courses

Introduction to Psychological Theories


This course provides an introduction to a wide range of psychological research including; behavioural, neurological, cognitive, clinical, cultural, developmental, evolutionary, and social psychology. The aim of introducing the multiple disciplines of psychology is to demonstrate that human behaviour needs to be understood and examined from many perspectives. The course is designed with non-psychology students in mind and also gives insight into how psychological research is carried out and applied. As such, understanding how psychological knowledge is generated helps students to critically assess popular beliefs about human emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. <back to courses>

Cognitive Psychology


Cognitive Psychology focusses on those mental functions that are the foundations of human behavior: perception, attention, problem solving, reasoning, language, learning and memory, motivation, emotion, decision making, etc. The goal of cognitive psychology is to gain insight in and therefore understand how these functions shape behavior, and answer questions like: "Why do we think or reason like we do? What is knowledge? Is perception just objective observation of the world around us? Why do we make errors, and how can we prevent ourselves from making errors? How to optimize the learning of new knowledge? Are we indeed so bad at multitasking?". Recent years have seen a development towards explaining or understanding human cognitive performance in terms of how mental functions are implemented in the brain, and how these different functions interact to support complex human behavior, topics which will also be discussed. <back to courses>

Sport and Performance Psychology


In this course, we review the key concepts, theories, models, and research findings from the field of sport and performance psychology. Students will be challenged to recognize their scholarly significance, to infer their implications, to think critically about them, and to put them into practice. <back to courses>

Traffic Psychology & Sustained Mobility


This course has two central themes: 1. Behaviour in traffic and the effects of this behaviour on safety, and 2. Retention of mobility. Traffic psychology is rather broad in the sense that it covers issues such as drink driving, the influence of infrastructural measures on behaviour, and the risks of using electronic devices in traffic. Theories common in experimental, social, and neuropsychology are used to explain and predict this behaviour.
Examples of topics that will be dealt with are the role of mental workload in dealing with increased demands in and outside the vehicle, and the effectiveness of police enforcement, campaigns, and driver education. With regard to mobility, the importance of mobility for health is central. There are several factors that may interfere with the ability of being mobile in general and driving a car in particular. For example, intrinsic factors, such as arousal, fatigue, or visual perceptual skills, differ within and between individuals and have a substantial impact on multiple aspects of mobility. Moreover, severe medical conditions, including psychiatric illness (e.g. phobia) and neurological disorders (e.g. dementia) are associated with cognitive and emotional problems, and may reduce mobility and participation in traffic. In addition to intrinsic factors associated with the individual, there are also external factors that affect mobility and safety more temporarily, such as the use of legal and illegal drugs.
In this course students will acquire basic knowledge about traffic psychology and learn about the importance of mobility and factors influencing it.
<back to courses>

Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology


The course provides an overview of the relationship between brain and behavior. This is done from a neuropsychological perspective by discussing the potential consequences of various forms of brain damage. Students will learn about the clinical presentations of common neuropsychological syndromes occurring after brain damage, how these syndromes can be assessed and how clinicians can treat patients with these syndromes. In the lectures, case reports are presented to clarify and illustrate contents as well as to translate the scientifically based knowledge into the applied field. These case reports will also support students to understand how neuropsychological syndromes are experienced by the patients in their everyday life. <back to courses>

Human error


All too often the human is considered a hazard – a system component whose unsafe acts are crucial in the majority of catastrophes. However, this is a limited view on the matter, as people act within a system and most people do not wish to make errors or cause disasters. Moreover, there is another perspective that should be studied in its own right – the human as hero, whose adaptations and compensations bring troubled systems back from the brink of disaster. The basic premise of this course is that even when an accident can be traced to the erroneous act of an individual, the actions of the individual need to be understood within the context of environmental, societal, and organisational factors. This course provides an introduction to basic topics in work and cognitive psychology central to minimising human error. Topics such as designing work to maximise performance and health, work-related mental stress, and selection and training are accompanied by an introduction to techniques used to investigate and classify human error. Emphasis is given to institutional safeguards against error situations. <back to courses>


The ability to perceive is vital to every organism. Perception is rightfully viewed as one of the cornerstones of life itself. Human perception is realized through rich and intricate processes in the brain, which realize both the simplest forms of sensation (“hot!”), as well as complex percepts (“this is a mobile phone”). This course covers the physiological basis of the visual and auditory senses, and how these achieve perception of varied things, such as color, brightness, loudness, and pitch. More advanced perceptual processing is also covered in the course, including object recognition and music perception, as is the role of cognitive processes such as attention and awareness. Finally, 'real world' applications are showcased, such as the design of retinal implants and face recognition algorithms. <back to courses>



Gerontology is a discipline that studies the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging. During this course, brain-behavior relationships in the contexts of normal aging and the most common types of dementia are presented. With regard to normal aging, the psychological, cognitive, social and biological changes that accompany normal aging are described as well as biological and psychological theories of aging. The types of dementia that will be discussed are (amongst others) Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Furthermore, the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, a prodromal stage of dementia, will be introduced. Finally, the consequences of having dementia on the daily life of patients and their families will be discussed. Students will acquire knowledge through presentations of clinical case studies and research outcomes. <back to courses>

Learning: Theory and Practice


Each of the lectures will focus on a specific type of learning and memory, such a classical conditioning, operant conditioning, skill acquistion, and working memory. Fundamental principles and theories will be discussed, with an emphasis on how this knowledge currently is, or could be, applied in the domains of education, training, and therapy (for instance, application of principles of classical conditioning in the treatment of phobias or the use of working-memory training methods in the treatment of learning disorders). Each week, students will hand in a written assignment or essay, based on the lecture and assigned readings. <back to courses>

Laatst gewijzigd:24 augustus 2021 12:36