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The department Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics (CPE) provides education for the Bachelor Psychology, the Bachelor Industrial Design and the Master Human Factors & Engineering Psychology.

  • Bachelor

    The department of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics, provides educational modules for the program Bachelor Psychology and Bachelor Industrial Design.

    ·         Cognition and Development
    ·         Human Factors and Engineering Psychology
    ·         Cognitive Ergonomics


    Lecturers: Borsci, Verwey, Gijlers, van der Lubbe, Kocer, Wassink, David

    This module focuses on the characteristics and the development of human cognitive functions and the nervous system. Students practise developing and evaluating interventions and/or designs for an applied issue and methodologies relevant to Human Factors & Engineering Psychology and Instructional Psychology. Students will also participate in classic cognitive psychological experiments and expand their knowledge and skills further with respect to inferential statistics.

    The Cognition & Development module encompasses three components:

    a)      Theory: The Brain, Cognition & Development
    b)      Research Methods: Data Analysis II
    c)      Design & Research: reporting of scientific cognitive experiments and user-centred 


    Students acquire detailed knowledge of the information processing model that is central to Cognitive Psychology. This modular perspective of human cognition is based on the interplay of theories and controlled lab experiments, which have, in recent decades, become more focused on the description of cognitive functions in relation to the supporting neural correlates. The cognitive modules discussed are: perception, attention, memory (both working memory and long-term memory) and executive control. In addition, students learn about the higher cognitive functions related to decision-making and the relationship between emotion and cognition. There is a clear link between behaviour and the body/brain, not just in Cognitive Psychology, but in other sub-fields of psychology too. In module 3, students receive a thorough introduction to Biopsychology and Neuropsychology. Students learn about the anatomy of the nervous system, the process of neurotransmission and characteristics of human perception and motor systems. The nature and function of sleep and the Circadian Rhythm is also explained. Throughout the entire component, there is specific emphasis on ontogenetic development (development during the life cycle) of the cognitive functions and biological structures discussed.


    This Research Methods component in module 3 expands the linear model to the generalized linear mixed model. First we introduce mixed linear models and random effects. Departing from analyzing pre-post designs, we extend this to repeated measures analyses in general, including: the analysis of mixed designs (within and between mixed designs). Generalized linear models will be introduced, but limited to the analyses of dichotomous outcome data through logistic regression, and count data. Great care is giving to choosing the right analysis and reshaping the data matrix appropriately. The interpretation of results and their generalization to populations are also emphasized. Students also practise with APA-style reporting.


    Students complete the project in the Design & Research component. In the module 3 project, students practice by conducting and reporting on controlled experiments for the first time. Students apply the data analysis (descriptive and/or inferential) techniques and theories they learned in both the previous and current modules to carry out the evaluation. In addition, students continue developing design skills and they learn about activities such as requirement specification and low-fidelity prototypes. In the Theory component, students learn a great deal about the experiments used to examine cognitive functions; knowledge they will use when working on their group project.


    Lecturers: Schmettow, Borsci, Verwey, van der Velde, van der Lubbe, Schraagen, Siegel, Groenier, David

    Technical systems such as cars, smartphones or websites, are built by engineers and operated by various different individuals. These individuals, as all human beings, have different cognitive, motivational, sensor, and physical limitations, strengths, and peculiarities, which affect interaction with such systems. Thus, it is vital to consider the 'Human Factor' in design and implementation of technical systems. Knowing how the human mind functions as thoroughly as psychologists do, makes them invaluable in the process of designing socio-technical systems that are safe, efficient and pleasant to use for their human operators.

    The module consists of three components: Theory, Research, and Programming. Through these components, we prepare students for a career as a Human Factors specialist. Students will be introduced to several domains where Human Factors plays a crucial role, as well as to various values and principles utilised in Human Factors domains, such as cognitive functioning and abilities. 

    The module also prepares for inter-disciplinary collaboration; a great exposure to a working environment similar to that of a Human Factors specialist, which includes working alongside engineers, such as computer scientists or industrial designers. 

    Students familiarize with basic engineering principles and a programming course, where they will learn to program their own interactive prototypes, psychological tests and interactive data visualizations. Students will also participate in a number of mini projects, serving to practice activities and methods of Human Factors design and research.


    Lecturer: Dr. S. Borsci

    Cognitive ergonomics is based on cognitive psychological theories on how people perceive, construct and act in the world. Students will learn about the functioning of people, the cognitive principles and guidelines to support the design of systems, and how to apply cognitive ergonomics and human factors principles in the design process to make relevant improvements in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction and safe use of a product.


    Lecture (frontal lessons) and in-class/group activities


    In this course the possibilities and limitations of human perception, memory and actions are explained. This knowledge is then translated into guidelines for the design of products and systems.

    Key topics of the module of cognitive ergonomics include: how people remember, act, think, find their way, make a decision and communicate. In this course we will discuss the sensory and cognitive functioning (observation and information processing) of people and its influence in the design of products. In addition, a number of important areas of cognitive ergonomics will be discussed: Stress and Workload, Safety, Human-Computer Interaction and Automation.


    This course is a continuation of Ergonomics (280129). Acquired knowledge can be used in Project O (280235). It falls under the ergonomics line that runs throughout the Bachelor's degree program and this will ultimately result in the Bachelor's degree (280310).


    Bachelor of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE)

    Thesis in HFE

    The department of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics offers to students the opportunity to do their graduation project (bachelor thesis) in Human Factors and Engineering psychology (HFE). Projects within HFE are divided into three general topics: Cognitive Psychology, Human Factors and Technical Cognition. These can be found here.

  • Master

    This specialization belongs to the master's programme Psychology.

    The master Human Factors & Engineering Psychology emphasizes interaction between people and technology. You will discover how to design or improve technological applications using your knowledge of cognitive psychology.

    Interaction of people and technology

    The specialization in Human Factors & Engineering Psychology focuses on the requirements and skills of people when it comes to interaction with technology. You learn to look beyond the individual: how does the environment influence the individual? How can something not simply be a matter of human error? In addition, you translate cognitive processes into intelligent systems: what makes a system intelligent? How can an intelligent system (like a robot vacuum cleaner) think or decide for itself? Furthermore, you will investigate the usability of websites and applications, for example, and how to fit the requirements of the eventual user to the operation of a system. 

    Read more…

    Graduation Opportunities

    While conducting your research for your Master’s thesis, you will study, for example, how people wish to receive feedback about their energy use through a system. You might also research how processes in a factory can be optimized, taking into account cognitive limitations (like mental workload) of the employees.

    More information about topics for a master thesis you can find here.