Cognitive Neuropsychology: From Patients to Functional Models

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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, case statistics and will build, run and analyse their own experiment. A special training in reviewing and reporting is included.

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 10 full 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, visuospatial neglect; amnesia.

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Day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
Prof. dr. Albert Postma


Prof. Albert Postma obtained his PhD at Nijmegen University in 1991, PhD thesis: “Self-correction and stuttering: on linguistic repair processes in disfluencies of normal speakers and stutterers”. Subsequently he moved to Utrecht University, as an assistant professor. He now holds the chair of Clinical Neuropsychology, Utrecht University. He has been head of the department of Experimental Psychology from 2010 until 2017. Over the past two decades, his research has focused on spatial cognition and human memory in both healthy and brain damaged individuals. Much of this work has been inspired by the EU NEST Fp6 program “Finding your way in the world – on the neurocognitive basis of spatial memory and orientation in humans” (Wayfinding) for which Albert Postma was coordinator. Another line of his spatial cognition research has focused on multisensory space and what happens to spatial cognitive abilities after sensory deprivation (blindness; deafness).



Prof. Muireann Irish is a cognitive neuroscientist in the School of Psychology and Brain & Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. Originally from Ireland, Muireann completed her PhD at Trinity College Dublin, before relocating to Australia in 2010 and establishing the MIND research team. Muireann's research focus is the cognitive neuroscience of memory. Using novel experimental tasks and multimodal imaging in neurodegenerative disorders, she hopes to inform cognitive models of memory and imagination. To date, Muireann has produced >140 publications and has received over AUD$4million in competitive funding. The quality of her work has been recognized by major awards from almost every society in her field including the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Award; 2019 Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award; 2020 Elizabeth Warrington Prize from the British Neuropsychological Society, and the 2021 International Neuropsychological Society Early Career Award.



Prof. Olaf Blanke is a neurologist, neuroscientist and physician. He is Bertarelli Chair in Cognitive Neuroprosthetics, Director of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at EPFL, and Professor of Neurology at the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Geneva. Blanke’s research is dedicated to the neuroscientific study of multisensory body perception and its relevance for self-consciousness by using a broad range of methods such as the neuropsychology, invasive and non-invasive electrophysiology, and brain imaging in healthy subjects, neurological and psychiatric patients. Most recently he has pioneered the joint use of engineering techniques such as robotics and virtual reality with techniques from cognitive neuroscience and their application to systems and cognitive neuroprosthetics and neuro-rehabilitation.

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Dr. Teuni ten Brink obtained her PhD in 2018 on the diagnosis and treatment of visuospatial neglect after stroke, within the Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine Utrecht. Here, she conducted an RCT on prism adaptation in visuospatial neglect and developed several dynamic diagnostic tools. She received an NWO Rubicon grant to study spatial attention in complex regional pain syndrome at the University of Bath. Currently, she is appointed as assistant professor at Utrecht University. Ten Brink’s research is focused at understanding processes of attention, spatial working memory and executive functioning, by using experimental techniques such as eye tracking in several patient populations (e.g. stroke, dementia). She aims to incorporate insights from experimental psychology into the field of clinical neuropsychology.


Target audience

Beginning and advanced PhD students. Really advanced research master students can be conditionally admitted (please contact the coordinators).

Aim of the course

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, and c) can directly strengthen their own PhD projects with new analytic and experimental approaches.

Study load

A typical day starts with a two - three hours lecture in the morning, followed by an assignment for group work. There is opportunity to consult with course tutors during this assignment. The day closes with presentations, plenary discussions or self-study and writing activities.

Active student participation: Students have to conduct their own mini cognitive neuropsychology research project, requiring them to think further about the ins and outs of patient research, to design new experiments or make new combinations of neuropsychological tests, and to write a research paper and review other papers from the domain of cognitive neuropsychology. Active participation is thus highly stimulated.

This is a hybrid course. In principle, it is fully taught on location in the city of Utrecht. Attending online only is also a possibility. For the social part and the experience to be at Utrecht University we recommend to come to campus, but this is no requirement.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials
Housing fee:
Housing cost
Housing provider:
Utrecht Summer School
Extra information about the fee

Tuition fee for PhD students from the Helmholtz Graduate school from Utrecht University will be funded by the Helmholtz Graduate School.

There are no scholarships available for this course.


Extra application information

In your application, please indicate whether you want to attend the course online or on campus. If you missed the registration deadline, you can email the course coordinators to see whether you can still attend.

More information

Prof. Dr. Albert Postma, Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University | E: | W:

Dr. Teuni ten Brink, Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University | E: | W:

Helmholtz Institute:


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
27 June 2022