Focus Areas in the M.Sc. in Psychology

Cognitive Neuroscience

At the center of the M.Sc. focus area 'Cognitive Neuroscience'  is the brain's structure and function as a carrier of the cognitive processes of human experience and behavior. The enormous upswing of neuroscientific studies in psychology and the increased networking between the research fields of pyschology, computer science, biology, physics and medicine has led in recent decades to a reorientation of our understanding of cognitive and affective processes and contributed strongly to the early detection of diseases and to optimizing the treatment process. Neuroscience research methods such as EEG (electroencephalography), MEG (magnetoencephalography), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computational modeling contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationships that allow for thinking, feeling, seeing, speaking, tasting, smelling, dreaming, moving, remembering, recognizing and  consciousness. Each of these methods and findings are taught in the research focus area, Cognitive Neuroscience.

Contents and Organisation

The working groups involved in the study area, Cognitive Neuroscience, research topics such as:

  • Action control and action recognition,
  • visual perception,
  • dynamic representation of space and spatial orientation,
  • cognitive and neural mechanisms of social interaction,
  • motor skill acquisition,
  • expection formation and astonishment,
  • memory,
  • language understanding and speech production,
  • second language acquisition and developmental language disorders,
  • processing of emotional stimuli.

These issues are to be  researched mainly with EEG, eye-tracking, reaction time experiments, fMRI, TMS, and computationeller modeling. We cooperate with the Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignal Analysis for MEG studies and with the University Hospital in the investigation of patients and fMRI studies.

The knowledge and skill sets that are required to perform research on the above mentioned topics, as well as for interpreting competently and critically, will primarily be taught in seminars and through practical activities. Specific knowledge of methods will be thematically developed in seminars, lectures, and practical exercises. Theses and Internships can be carried out in the participating departments or from one of several partners in Münster, Germany or abroad.

The study offers of the focus area, Cognitive Neurowissenschaft, are complemented by events in the fields of diagnostics, methodology and an import module of your choosing. This flexibility allows students to meet the requirements for subsequent psychotherapy training. The courses and events in the focus area are realised through the work units of Prof. Dr. Busch, Prof. Dr. Lappe andProf. Dr. Schubotz.

Research - Practice - Career Perspectives

The programme is primarily research-oriented and prepares for subsequent postgraduate work in a doctoral study programme and/or for a career in a research-related field of work. The competence profile of graduates of the programme involves a large potential for application in occupational fields, where information processing, aspects of human action, and decision-making are to be taken under consideration. Here we regard questions concerning the human-machine interaction, the user adaptively of computers, the cognitive aspects of ergonomics in relation to complex decision-making and other mechanisms of control, and similar areas that may be summarized under “human engineering”. In addition, graduates have professional opportunities within the field of data processing open to them, for example, in computer linguistics, guidance through the use of language, machine-based vision systems or robotics. Besides this, the focus program opens up paths to scientific journalistic activities.

The neuroscientific basis of the programme enables students to take up occupations in the area of clinical psychology. The graduates of this focus area are especially qualified for consecutive postgraduate studies in clinical neuropsychology, which can either be acquired separately or parallel to the postgraduate training towards becoming a licensed psychological psychotherapist.