Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: UCSCICOG31
Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience: Spatial Cognition
Course info
Course codeUCSCICOG31
Course goals
After completing this course students are able to:
  • elaborate on issues related to human cognition, research technologies, and experimental facilities while emphasizing the spatial aspect.
  • examine human cognition from a theoretical perspective. 
  • employ research skills such as setting up, conducting, and interpreting (data from) cognitive neuroscience experiments.
  • develop relevant experiments and report about them scientifically.
  • interpret the data from a given examination in terms of functional conclusions. 
Cognitive neuroscience examines the relation between cognitive functions such as perception, memory, attention, and the neuronal architecture of the brain. Within the last two decades, it has gained a central position within the scientific community due to dramatic new insights about human cognition and new research technologies.
The central theme of this course is the role of space in cognitive neuroscience. Processing of spatial information seems crucial for daily functioning and survival. By establishing where things are, relating them to our own position, and keeping this information available over time in memory, we display many types of behavior in which space is crucial.
The course begins with a general introduction and overview of spatially guided behavior; we distinguish between different types of subspaces and come to recognize the importance of vision for building spatial representations. We also examine the build-up of a representation of space on the basis of verbal descriptions, and the maintenance of spatial relations between objects in spatial memory. Throughout our study, the overlying challenge is to determine what crucial parts of the brain are involved so as to achieve an inclusive model of the neurocognitive basis of space in the human brain. 


This course is intended to be a specialized course, focusing on both the contents and methods of current research in a specific domain (i.e. spatial cognition). As such, it emphasizes research techniques and experiment design. To this end, we focus on measurements of the brain’s activity in various forms, by discussing EEG, fMRI, TMS, and neuropsychological patient studies. Moreover, we study psychophysical research techniques used in various papers in great detail.
A number of nationally and internationally leading experts in the field of spatial neurocognition act as instructors, giving lectures on selected topics on cognitive neuroscience with a large practical part aimed at teaching research skills. Intensive self-study of research articles and book chapters, experimentation, and excursions also assist students in acquiring these techniques.
Kies de Nederlandse taal