MSc Biological Psychology
The mutual influences of the psychological and biological fields on one another are at the centre of Biological Psychology. In Biological Psychology the ‘roots of our behaviour’ is studied, by relating all our actions, experiences and feelings to physiological, evolutionary and developmental mechanisms. Many of these mechanisms are looked at in terms of brain functioning. In addition, students learn about the application of brain imaging techniques. Biological Psychology contains three specialisations from which students can select one.
MSc Biological Psychology - Specialized in Developmental Psychology
Developmental Psychology is the study of the development of behaviour and cognitive functions during the life-span, from infancy to old age. In this biological specialisation, the focus is especially on understanding how the development of certain behaviours and cognitive functions relates to a persons biological constitution and the development of the brain. Students are made familiar with current developmental theories and research findings from different fields and will get acquainted with brain imaging techniques such as Electroencephalography (EEG) and Event-Related Potentials (ERP).
In this Developmental Psychologyspecialisation, students learn all about what is needed, both biologically and environmentally, to develop cognitive functions such as audition, vision, speech and language, social perception and emotion and motor functions. Both normal development and developmental disorders are important topics.
The ‘Infancy’ course gives an overview of the development of cognitive and motor functions during the first two years of human life. ‘Perception, attention and motor development’ deals with normal and abnormal development of these functions from childhood to adulthood. ‘Development of cognition and language’ provides an overview of normal and abnormal development of the higher cognitive and language functions. In the ‘Social and emotional development’ course, students deal with genetic mechanisms and social and emotional development. During the second semester, students will complete a research internship and write their thesis.
Links with Research
There is a strong link between existing research programs and themes in the Developmental Psychology specialisation. Research in the department of Neurocognition and the Biological Developmental Psychology section has a strong biological focus, trying to elucidate links between brain and behaviour during development and developmental psychopathology, making use of brain imaging methods like EEG. This biological focus is present in the theoretical part of the courses as well as in practical trainings in the master’s specialisation.
Job possibilities for developmental psychologists are broad, some examples are: researcher in an academic or health setting, teaching in an academic setting, school advisor, neuropsychologist in academic or clinical settings.
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