Cognitive Neuropsychology: From Patients to Functional Models

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 1050
PhD level

Cognitive Neuropsychology studies the functional disorders people suffer after brain injury in order to construct and test formal models of cognitive functioning. It is strongly driven by fundamental theory but also can have implications for clinical diagnosis and therapy. Cognitive Neuropsychology gives invaluable insights in how the human mind works and forms an indispensable instrument in the modern Cognitive Neuroscience toolbox.

Cognitive Neuropsychology has strongly been inspired by fascinating reports of patients such as Broca’s mister ‘Tan’, who could only utter a single world after frontal lobe ailment, and the tragic case of Henry Molaison who, following medio-temporal lobe surgical removal to treat epilepsy, could no longer remember any new events happening in his life. Studies with comparable groups of patients have further stimulated the field of cognitive neuropsychology
The course spans several days of lectures and practical work, in which cognitive neuropsychology research examples and methods are discussed. Students have to do a short research project, including setting up and trying out their own cognitive neuropsychology experiment, and complete a number of writing assignments. Senior, international cognitive neuropsychologists give lectures and supervision.
The course will address history and methodology of cognitive neuropsychology research; statistical techniques; examinations in large clinical groups; disorders such as topographical amnesia, somatophrenia and other impairments of touch and body, visuospatial neglect; amnesia.
As an advanced training in Cognitive Neuropsychology, the course aims to teach PhD students how to collect and interpret patient data in order to test cognitive theories and build cognitive models. The emphasis will be on 'doing research'. Candidates will get an acquaintance with standard neuropsychological testing, will be shown examples of patients cases, and will build, run and analyse their own experiment. A special training in reviewing and reporting is included.

After this course, PhD candidates

a) will have gained new insights and skills in how to conduct cognitive neuroscience research
b) are able to read, evaluate and integrate in their own research, recent literature from the field of cognitive, clinical and applied neuropsychology
c) can directly strengthen their own PhD projects with new analytic and experimental approaches

The course will include theoretical models, state of the art methodological approaches, practical work, clinical excursions and special guest lectures by Prof. Georg Kerkhoff, University of Saarland (spatial neglect; neuropsychological rehabilitation) and Prof. Paul Burgess, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL (prospective memory, executive control).

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