Cognition and Technical Systems: Intelligent Systems

(This course is obligatory for students starting in September1)

CTS-Intelligent Systems is one of the two courses in the Cognition and Technical Systems course domain. These CTS courses focus on how insight in human cognition influences the design of technical systems.

The Intelligent Systems course focuses on how cognitive processes such as perception, attention, learning, memory, decision and action can be used to make technical systems more intelligent. Examples are computer or web based systems, or robotics with cognitive abilities. There are clear similarities between the problems these systems and humans face when they interact with their environment. Therefore, ideas and models developed in cognitive science and psychology are increasingly being used in the design of intelligent systems. We will pay specific attention to these ideas and models. The course will entail (a) lectures that deal with introductory topics related to intelligent systems, based on a set of articles that you have to study before each lecture. During the lectures you will be asked to comment on and discuss the issues raised in the lecture sheets about the articles. You will also (b) have to write a brief essay on an individual assignment given to you during the course. The result of the essay determines the participation in and influences the grading of the open questions exam.

1 This course is provided in Quartile 1A, and is obligatory for students starting their master’s degree in September. Students who start in February can choose to follow this course an elective course if they wish to.


Cognition and Technical Systems: Traffic Psychology

(This course is obligatory for students starting in February1)

CTS-Traffic Psychology is one of the two courses in the Cognition and Technical Systems course domain. These CTS courses focus on how insight in human cognition influences the design of technical systems.

The Traffic Psychology course focuses on cognitive processes such as perception, attention, learning, memory, decision and action that are used when driving a car. Attention is also paid to the effects that telephoning, fatigue, aging, medication, and drugs have on driving behavior. We will further discuss causes of traffic accidents. This course shows how the various cognitive processes are being used in a complex, everyday skill like driving, and how this contributes to our understanding of the fundamental aspects of human cognition. The course will entail (a) presentations by teachers and students of text book chapters, and (b) the writing of a competitive research proposal in a group of 4 or 5 students.

1 This course is provided in Quartile 2A, and is obligatory for students starting their master’s degree in February. Students who start in September can choose to follow this course as an elective course if they wish to.

Human Computer Interaction

This course introduces classic and recent topics in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). HCI is a member of the Human factors family and is about designing interactive products to best suit the human user’s mind. In this course you will cover the following topics: 

  • Foundations of HCI;
  • Usability Evaluation;
  • Information & Retrieval;
  • User Experience & Engagement;
  • Learning & Change in HCI;
  • Designing Instructions;
  • Individual differences in HCI;
  • Human-Robot Interaction.

The course always transfers to real design problems, such as: How do people find information on the web? And how can this best be supported by designers of search engines, web browsers and navigation structures? The course includes a one-day training in usability testing, a central technique for user-centred design that is widely used throughout industry. Your progress will be assessed in three ways during this course: (weekly) assignments, a study report, and a written exam. 

Resilience Engineering

Resilience engineering is a new way of approaching safety. Instead of studying what went wrong in hindsight (often incorrectly labelled ‘human error’), resilience engineering focuses on the normal functioning of sociotechnical systems. In order to be able to analyze sociotechnical systems and design solutions, you need to be well-versed in the foundational concepts and methods developed in areas such as cognitive engineering and distributed cognition. With that in mind, you will benefit from in-depth coverage of the following topics during this course, based on seminal publications and landmarks: 

  • situational awareness;
  • skills-rules-knowledge framework;
  • recognition-primed decision-making;
  • team cognition;
  • situated/distributed cognition;
  • human error models.

The goal of this course is to provide you with in-depth knowledge of current safety science and cognitive systems engineering theories. In the lectures, we will draw on some of the most important concepts from an applied cognitive engineering point of view. If you are outstanding at abstract, conceptual thinking, and you also have an open, but critical attitude towards an interdisciplinary approach to studying complex problems, this course may well be for you. 

Advanced Research Methods for HFE

The course Advanced Research Methods (ARM) teaches Master students of the specialization ‘Human Factors and Engineering Psychology’ (HFE) advanced skills in applied research methods commonly practiced in the field of Human Factors. These research practices build upon different courses and modules offered in the Bachelor and Pre-Master curriculum such as module 6, ‘Human Factors and Engineering Psychology’. By following the course ARM, student reach a higher level of practical research skills specific for the field. The course offers a wide range of different research methods (from new statistics to user-centered design methods) and combines theory and practice. Generally, the student will develop those advanced research skills by studying the appropriate literature prior to a full-day workshop.

The course consists of five topics where students practice the specific research methods in realistic scenarios. Depending on the topic, the workshops are a combination of short introductions followed by exercises where students are analyzing, designing, conducting or evaluating research. After the workshops, students deepen their knowledge of a certain research method by studying the underlying literature and prepare for the exam.

elective courses

Learning and Instruction

In this course, you will be introduced to the psychological principles of learning and instruction, ranging from basic theories of learning reading, writing, math and science to means of fostering learning by means of instruction in the widest sense of the word. Instruction includes giving feedback, design of learning activities, providing examples and supporting collaborative learning and problem solving. Finally, you will discover how these theories can be utilized in the design of learning environments. 

Design of Persuasive Health Technology

In this course, you will gain insight into the possibilities of the latest health technologies, such as personal mobile sensors, virtual coaching applications, serious games, smart glasses and wearables. Special attention will be given to the question of how to reach ‘hard-to-reach’ populations – such as low SES groups, adolescents and illiterates – by applying the strategies of Entertainment-Education (EE). You will also apply the principles of diffusion of innovation.

In this course, you will learn how to design engaging technology for real health problems in a multidisciplinary team. You will apply persuasive design theory and entertainment education strategies to support health and well-being. The project assignments will be linked to the research projects going on at our Centre for eHealth & Wellbeing. Your team will create and evaluate a prototype and substantiate it in a (group) paper covering relevant literature on the design of persuasive system design and strategies for entertainment education. The course will culminate in a Demo Pitch.  

Risk and Leadership in Societal and Technological Contexts

Failing leadership and risk communication have recently gained much attention in popular media. An example of disputed risk communication was the low uptake of the HPV vaccine offered to 12-13 year old girls in 2009 in the Netherlands. An alleged important characteristic of the resulting controversy was neither anticipated nor adequately dealt with, viz. the online interaction through social media undermining the trust in the RIVM (health institute) experts. To be able to explain the psychological processes that might have taken place, this course will focus on the many facets of leadership, risk communication and crises against a societal and technological background. Based on a number of recent crises, you will become familiar with leadership and risk communication theories that might provide an explanation for the development of these crises. 

Chat offline (info)