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Higher cognitive functions, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Högre kognitiva funktioner

This syllabus is valid: 2011-01-17 valid to 2011-09-04 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 2PS089

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Psychology: Second cycle, in-depth level of the course cannot be classified
Cognitive Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Psychology


The course will present central theoretical and empirical issues related to higher cognitive functions with a specific focus on cognitive control functions. These control functions, often referred to as executive functions, are assumed to mediate goal-directed behavior and involve planning, coordination and updating of complex intentions. Executive control functions are also central to most higher mental activities, including abstract thinking and problem solving, autobiographic memory, self-image, and social interactions. A variety of neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with impairments and deficits in these functions. Another aim of the course is to examine different forms of higher cognitive functions by focusing on the relation among executive functioning, decision-making competence and metacognition. The course also aims at elucidating the interplay between emotional and cognitive control and their underlying neural mechanisms. The course will also deal with individual and developmental differences in executive control functions.

Expected learning outcomes

After the course, the students are expected to have deeper understanding of: - executive functions and their relation to other higher cognitive functions - construct validity and measurement problems within the research area - emotional control and their relation to higher cognitive functions - developmental trends in executive control functions

Required Knowledge

Univ: 90 credits (Higher Education Credits/ hp) in any subject. English proficiency equivalent to IELTS Academic Training -minimum score 5.0 with no individual score below 4.5 (Tests taken before January 2005 not admissible) or TOEFL -minimum score 500 on paper based test and not below 4.0 on the TWE, alternatively 173 on computer based test with iBT61 is also required as well as basic entrance requirements for higher studies in Swedish language proficiency if the course is taught in Swedish.

Form of instruction

Teaching will be based on seminars and lectures.

Examination modes

Examination is based on participation in seminars, including and oral examination during the final seminar. For the oral exam the grades failed, passed and passed with distiction will be used. A student who has failed twice on an examination can request from the Board of Under-graduate Studies in Psychology that another teacher is appointed to grade the project work. The student is entitled 5 examinations within two years after the first registration occasion. To pass the entire course all tests and compulsory parts must have been passed. The grade is an integrated judgement of the results from all examination parts, and is given when all parts have been passed. Academic credit transfer Crediting will be tested on an individual basis. The application should be sent by the student to the university registry (Registrator, Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå) that will provide a registration number. The application will thereafter be sent to the responsible department. The responsible Study Director will decide on credit transfer or a course/course part. Confirmed copies of course certificate or corresponding certificate should be included, in which information about education establishment, date, subject area, level and number of credits is provided. In addition, the application should include the course syllabus and literature list for the course/course part, and, when appropriate, a copy of the project report.


Valid from: 2011 week 4