880001 :Attention, Perception & Memory (CSAI/HAIT)


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: Plenary meetings and labs (Collegerooster)
Tentamenvorm: Written exam and research project incl. research report (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Inschrijving:Enrollment via Blackboard before start of lectures
Blackboard informatieLink to Blackboard (Als u de melding 'Guest are not allowed in this course' krijgt, dient u nog bij Blackboard in te loggen)


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dr. M. Postma-Nilsenova (coördinator)

mr. S. Varma

Doel van de cursus

The general objective of the course is to give an overview of the most prominent research topics and findings in the area of attention, perception and memory (and their interplay, as the mechanisms supporting these processes are closely related). Students get familiar with different types of methodologies approaching these research topics, including more recent advances in the field of neurocognition and Artificial Intelligence. 
A substantial part of the course consists in conducting own research study using PsychoPy, an open-source Python-based application that allows researchers to build reliable sharable experiments.

The topics discussed in the course are of practical relevance in any applied area centered around human cognition, including but not limited to decision making, (e-)learning, management and aging.

Course objectives:

  • critically think and evaluate scientific literature in the area of attention, perception and memory research,
  • apply cognitive theories of attention, perception and memory to areas as diverse as decision making (e)-learning, management and aging, 
  • review major cognitive theories of attention, perception and memory,
  • understand (neuro-)psychological methods of measuring attention, perception and memory,
  • understand computational methods of measuring attention, perception and memory,
  • identify, understand and evaluate the relationship between attention, perception and memory.

Inhoud van de cursus

The topics covered in the course include:

- Sensation; 
- Visual Perception and Memory; 
- Visual Attention; 
- Auditory Perception & Memory; 
- Attention & Pain; 
- Attentional Control; 
- Types of Memory.

Next to that, students acquire practical knowledge of PsychoPy, an experimental environment based on Python.


  • Pop-quizzes: During the plenary meetings (not necessarily in the beginning of the meeting), students will be asked to answer a question pertaining to the compulsory literature for a given week. In order to gain access to the final exam, at least 4 of the 7 pop-quizz questions need to be answered sufficiently, i.e. receive a pass.
  • Group projects: During the course, students will work on a small research project in groups consisting of 3 members or less. The group projects will be discussed and supervised during the lab meetings and will involve setting up an experiment using PsychoPy on a topic of the group’s own choice. The topic needs to address issues discussed in the course. The group projects will result in research reports that need to be written and handed in individually. The grade for the report constitutes 60% of the final grade. In order to pass the course, the report needs to be of a sufficient quality and receive a pass.
  • Final exam: The final written exam will have two components. The first component will test students’ knowledge of terminology; the second component will be in the form of an essay on a theme students will select from three available topics. The final exam constitutes 40% of the final grade.


This course is a part of the CSAI specialization.

For the lab sessions, students are expected to bring their own laptops. If necessary, it is possible to work in pairs.

Compulsory literature:

Styles, E.A. (2005). Attention, Perception and Memory: An integrated Introduction. Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis.

Miyake et al. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex ‘frontal lobe’ tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41, 49-100.
O’Reagan, J.K. (1992). Solving the “real” mysteries of visual perception: the world as an outside memory. Can J Psychol, 46(3):461-488.
Moore, T., & Zirnsak, M. (2017). Neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. Annual Review of Psychology, 68, 47-72.
Joseph, S., Teki, S., Kumar, S., Husain, M., & Griffiths, T.D. (2016). Resource allocation models of auditory working memory. Brain Research, 1640: 183-192.
Todd, J., Sharpe, L, Johnson, A., Nicholson Perry, K., Colagiuri, B., & Dear, B.F. (2015). Towards a new model of attentional biases in the development, maintenance, and management of pain. Pain, 156, 1589-1600.
Eysenck, M.W. (2010). Attentional Control Theory of Anxiety: Recent Developments. In Gruszka, A., Matthews, G., & Szymura, B. (eds.), Handbook of Individual Differences in Cognition, pp. 195-204. Springer. 
Eichenbaum, H. (2017). Memory: Organization and Control. Annual Review of Psychology, 68, 19-45.

Recommended literature:

Kilteni & Ehrsson (2017). Body ownership determines the attenuation of self-generated tactile sensations. PNAS. Published online before print on July 17, 2017, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1703347114.
Poldrack, R.A., & Yarkoni, T. (2015). From brain maps to cognitive ontologies: Informatics and the search for mental structure. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 587-612.
Higgins, E. & Rayner, K. (2015). Transsaccadic processing: stability, integration, and the potential role of remapping. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77, 3-27.
Price, Jhangiani, & Chiang (2016), Research Methods in Psychology, https://opentextbc.ca/researchmethods/
Bizley, J.K., & Cohen, Y.E. (2013). The what, where and how of auditory-object perception. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14(10):693-707.
Chun, M.M., Golomb, J.D., & Turk-Browne, N.B. (2011).  A taxonomy of external and internal attention. Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 73-101.
Christoff, K., Irving, Z. C., Fox, K.C.R., Spreng, R.N., & Andrews-Hanna, J.R. (2016). Mind-wandering as spontaneous thought: a dynamic framework. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 17, 718-731.
Botvinick, M., & Braver, J. (2014). Motivation and cognitive control: From behavior to neural mechanism. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 83-113.

Verplichte literatuur

  1. See above.

Aanbevolen literatuur

  1. See above.

Vereiste voorkennis

Knowledge of experimental methodology and statistics

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