How do we store information in working memory? What changes in that process during ageing? How does mood affect our perceptions?
What brain areas allow you to switch between two tasks? And how does all that mental activity affect the body?
Cognitive psychology and psychophysiology studies cognitive functioning (memory, learning, perception, etc.) of healthy people and in our master track Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology you study – amongst others – these questions.
You will learn about the latest theories and insights in this broad area, and you will get hands-on experience with research tools such as advanced reaction time analyses, EEG and TMS. You will put all this knowledge into practice during your master's research project. In the programme, we put a strong emphasis on applications of all the theory you study: over and over again, we will ask “how can we use this knowledge in everyday life?”
The CPP programme is very practical. You learn how to conduct research by using different instruments.
My name is Robin Hake and I come from Germany. Before I came to Groningen I studied computer science. The idea of coming to Groningen first popped into my head when an acquaintance of mine told me about the UG and its psychology programme. I decided to move to Groningen because of its good reputation and because I already had friends studying here.
My first moments in Groningen were rather overwhelming. I come from a small village in Germany so it was a big change. Also, the university where I previously studied was very small; I was not used to having so many people around. I also had to get used to speaking English. After I arrived, I took an intensive Dutch course for a month, only to find out afterwards that this was not necessary since everyone here speaks good English.
What motivated me to study psychology was a book by Daniel Kahneman called ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’. I was so intrigued about finding out more about psychology that I dropped my computer science programme and switched to the UG. Kahneman’s main research field in psychology is cognitive psychology. My favourite course unit in the Bachelor’s programme was also cognitive psychology. These factors inspired me to choose the Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology (CPP) track; I think it is the most interesting topic in psychology.
The CPP programme is very practical. You learn how to conduct research by using different instruments. There are many course units where you learn how to use tools such as eye-trackers and EEGs, or understand the principles underlying fMRI and TMS. In the field of cognitive psychology, it is essential that you are able to work with these tools.
The structure of this programme is a bit different to the other programmes. You follow all your course units during the first semester, and during the second you only write your thesis. I think this structure is very beneficial for students, since you have all the theoretical knowledge before writing your thesis.
Robin Hake, 24, masterstudent in Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology
The Master's programme concentrates on research focusing on application in practice
My name is Tabitha Steendam, I'm 24 and I'm currently following two Master's degree programmes at the UG: Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology and the Research Master's in Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.
The UG was the obvious choice. It offers high-quality teaching, particularly in the field of research. As I want to become a researcher, I chose to do not only my Bachelor’s but also my Master’s at the UG. The Master’s in Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology more than matched my interests and gave me the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge I will need in the future. Another reason for studying here is that Groningen is a very exciting city for students and has a nice atmosphere.
The Master’s in Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology is a great programme. The group of students is smaller than in the Bachelor’s, which makes it very personal. There is a lot more contact with the lecturers and with fellow students, which I find very motivating. We organize drinks parties so that you can meet the staff and where you can discuss which subject you would like to tackle in your Master’s thesis.
The Master’s programme concentrates on research focusing on application in practice. In the first semester you follow course units and in the second you write your Master’s thesis. This means that you can use and expand the knowledge and skills you acquired in the first semester in writing your thesis.
dr. Sebastiaan Mathot - assistant professor in the Experimental Psychology department
My name is Sebastiaan Mathôt and I am assistant professor in the Experimental Psychology department and coordinator of the Master's in Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology.
My field, experimental or cognitive psychology, focuses on fundamental thought processes like perception, memory and attention. I find it interesting to look at human behaviour at this basic level. In my own research I focus on human behaviour by studying topics such as attention, eye movements and pupil size. In addition to conducting research I also develop scientific software, including OpenSesame, a programme that designs and conducts psychological experiments.
The Master’s programme I coordinate combines fundamental
cognitive psychology with applied elements. This makes it very
different from other programmes in this field, which in most cases
focus exclusively on research. In this UG Master’s you will
not only learn how cognitive processes work but also how you can
apply this knowledge in practice and in the business world. Think
of the role attention plays in how drivers experience traffic
situations for example, or doctors look at scans, and how we all
experience advertisements. Stefan van der Stigchel has written an
interesting book about attention (Zo werkt aandacht),
which provides a good overview of our field and how we deal with
this in our Master’s programme.
In this programme, students can thus expect to learn fundamental knowledge as well as practical skills in course units such as statistics and methodology. In addition, we offer an extensive research placement, where students learn to apply this knowledge in practice.