Brain and Cognition

Current facets (Pre-Master)

Research in Psychology

Prof. dr. Rolf A. Zwaan - Programme coordinator Brain and Cognition

"I have always been fascinated with how we process language. We speak or hear several words per second. At this rapid rate, our brain must engage in a multitude of processes. To understand language, we must quickly identify the meaning of each word, combine the word meanings into larger meanings, and combine those into even larger meanings of entire stretches of conversation or text. Not only that, but stories transport us to fictional worlds, where we empathize with characters and hate others (King Joffrey from Game of Thrones comes to mind). How does our brain accomplish all of this in such a short amount of time? That is the question I have been devoting my career to. Language use is a uniquely human skill. So by studying how we use language, we learn something fundamental about what it means to be human.

I have another interest as well. What are the best ways to conduct psychological research? How can we make sure that our findings are reproducible? What does it mean if they are not? How can we build a better psychological science?

I write about both of my interests, language processing and psychological science, in my blog."

Go to my blog
Prof. dr. Rolf A. Zwaan - Programme coordinator Brain and Cognition


The mission of the program is to conduct fundamental research into processes underlying human cognition, specifically into the role that perceptual, motor, and emotional processes play in cognitive processing.
  • Dijkstra, K.
  • Gootjes, L.
  • Hoeben-Mannaert, L.
  • Liao, Y.
  • Lindemann, O.
  • Pecher, D.
  • Roest, S.
  • Strien, J. van
  • Zeelenberg, R.
  • Zwaan, R.

Publications of this Programme

  • Pouw, W.T.J.L., Nooijer, J.A. de, van Gog, T., Zwaan, R.A. & Paas, F. (2014). Towards a more Embedded/Extended Perspective on the Cognitive Function of Gestures.Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 359.
  • Engelen, J.A.A., Bouwmeester, S., De Bruin, A.B.H. & Zwaan, R.A. (2014). Eye Movements Reveal Differences in Children's Referential Processing During Narrative Comprehension. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 118, 57-77.
  • Nooijer, J.A. de, Gog, T. van, Paas, F. & Zwaan, R.A. (2013). When left is not right: Handedness effects on learning object-manipulation words using pictures with left or right-handed first-person perspectives. Psychological Science, 24, 2515-2521.