Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brain and Mind

when 14 July 2018 - 28 July 2018
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 1150

How does the human mind work? We all know the brain is responsible, but what are the mechanisms involved? How do our minds become conscious, perceive, remember and make important decisions?

This course provides you with a sound introduction to human cognition and how cognitive neuroscientists investigate it. Provided by the world-renowned Cognitive Psychology Lab at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, topics include perception and consciousness, thinking and decision making, as well as the underlying brain mechanisms.

Moreover, we give you hands-on experience with the state-of-the-art tools used to investigate the functioning of the mind. You will learn to set up, and run a cognition experiment, measure eye gaze, and interpret brain waves from EEGs. You will program your own computer task, analyze your own data and present the findings. We will also look at the practical side. What are the implications of brain and mind studies for design, marketing, health & safety, and the law? The course includes an excursion to the SPINOZA brain imaging center, where you will see an fMRI scanner in action.

Course leader

Prof. Christian Olivers

Target group

Any student or professional wanting a quick but thorough primer on cognitive neuroscience, a theme relevant in studies as wide-ranging as Law, Education, Communications and Economics, as well as in the exact sciences and computer science. The course will appeal both to undergraduates considering a Master’s degree in a related field and to postgraduate or even PhD students in other areas who are looking for a thorough introduction to the topic. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Course aim

At the end of this course you will:
•Understand core concepts and methods in cognitive neuroscience: how the brain represents and processes information
•Leading to perception, consciousness and decision making.
•Be aware of recent advances in the fields of cognition, and its pitfalls.
•Understand brain anatomy and mechanisms, and how they relate to cognitive function.
•Be able to design and implement your own basic psycho-physical investigation: “measuring the mind”.
•Know how to assess individual people’s perceptual and decision-making skills.
•Be able to perform basic quantitative analyses of behavioural and electro-physiological data.

Please note that opportunities to acquire your own data will be limited for capacity reasons. You will work mostly with existing data.

Credits info

3 EC
Contact Hours: 50
If you want to earn more credits you can take courses in our other sessions to create a 4 or 6 week programme.

Fee info

EUR 1150: The tuition fee includes:
• Airport pick-up service
• Welcome goodie bag
• Orientation programme
• Course excursions
• On-site support
• Emergency assistance
• Transcript of records after completion of the course

An early bird discount of €150 is available for students who apply and pay before 15 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

There are also discounts for students who attend multiple sessions, combine 2 courses and receive a €200 discount and combine 3 to receive a €300 discount. All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered.


The VU Amsterdam Summer School offers ten scholarships that cover the full tuition and housing fees of one course. Information about how to apply for the scholarship will be posted on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.

Register for this course
on course website