Brain & Technology

Course typeExchange
Course sectorPsychology
Course duration5 months
SemesterSpring (Febr. - July)
For partners ofSchool of Applied Psychology and Human Resource Management

The programme in Brain & Technology will offer an introduction in the role of human behaviour and the functioning of our brain in interaction with technological innovations in our current and future society. From a psychological point of view, with current insights from the neurosciences, through a series of lectures, practical assignments and an applied research project, you will gain knowledge of the current models, methods, instruments, best practices and theories in the field of human technology interaction, usability testing, ethics and design. Among other things, you will learn how to develop assistive technology involving end-users, and include persuasive techniques in doing so. You will be able to take a standpoint in an ethical debate on technology and defend it. 

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The structure of the programme

  • All lectures are compulsory. All activities for this programme will be scheduled on 2 days a week in the first part. For the second part of the semester all activities will be scheduled on 2 or 3 days a week.
  • Guest speakers will be part of most of the courses to introduce and accentuate key aspects of the course.

The courses are:

Brain & Technology: an introduction into Scientific Prototyping

In this course the focus is on new developments in cognitive neuroscience and human technology interaction. Following an introduction on cognitive neuroscience you will explore different topics where brain and technology might intersect in the near future. You will explore the potentials, pitfalls, ethical dilemmas and applications of topics such as augmented cognition technology, brain computer interfaces, brain stimulation, brain doping, intelligent tutoring systems, biofeedback, quantified-self, digital immortality and cyborgism. Although the course is based on recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, demonstrating what is possible today, it is also largely futuristic in nature.

Usability Design

In this course you will learn to consider and use the principles of cognitive ergonomics and neuro-ergonomics in the evaluation of the usability of design. The scope of Usability Design is the creation of interfaces, devices and utilities with the prospective user in the center of attention. Goal is to design something that is highly appreciated by the user and performs according to the usability goals set by the user.

App prototyping

APP prototyping will lead you into the exciting world of user centered APP interface design. Based on the UEL methodology combined with the 1-10-100 metaphor an APP interface will be created first as a paper prototype. If feasible the interface will also be produced in a visual design tool. As an alternative we can offer students Usability Design Testing, which offers interesting tools to test the usability of an interface.

‘Mind the Gap’: ethical considerations in the design and use of (neuro)technology

The possibilities of innovative technology today seem endless, and the use of technology in almost all aspects of daily life becomes increasingly normal. However, the speed in which these developments occur does not seem to leave any time for ethical considerations about the application and use of these technological possibilities. It can be argued that in order to close this ‘gap’, ethical considerations need to be part of both the development and use of new technology. In this course you will learn to ask ethical questions, use methodology designed to evaluate the ethics of technology, discuss and debate, and to write a paper on this subject.

Persuasive technology

Communication in professional life implies knowledge of persuasion, narratives and mass media. People are influenced in various ways. We read papers, watch television and internet, see adverts, and campaigns, and we talk with others. We are exposed to messages that are implicit or explicit, and they can have positive and negative effects. What kind of messages are effective and for whom? Neuroscientists and marketing experts are debating the use of brain-imaging and other techniques to discover the impact of marketing strategies for over a decade now. In 2002 Ale Smidt coined the term neuromarketing, and since then brain imaging techniques have been used by marketers and corporations to investigate the reasons why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it.

Project management

This course offers techniques in project management; and does so in the context of projects aimed on the alignment of technological opportunities with the capabilities of an organization. This prepares you for the research project, which you will execute in the second quarter of the programme, by providing you with methods and techniques which guarantee project success.

Research Project

In this project you’ll use the Usability Engineering Life cycle to develop a working prototype of a technological innovation, in order to provide the client (opdrachtgever) with a solution to their problem. For instance, this can be the use of Virtual Reality to train people with autism to deal with unexpected situations, in which our students develop useful content based on theory and information provided by end users as well as other stakeholders.

Second- or higher year bachelor students. Knowledge of statistics and SPSS is recommended. Command of English at least B2 as described by CEFR.



For more information about the bachelor programmes please contact Mrs. Wieke Ankersmit (