Arnout Boot, student Brain and Cognition

This study program provided me with an understanding of what it means to be human, in all our perfections and imperfections.
Arnout Boot

As a Master’s student in Brain and Cognition I learned about the biological fundament of the mind, the cognitive processes involved in language usage and how we mentally represent and categorize our environment. Shortly said, this study program provided me with an understanding of what it means to be human, in all our perfections and imperfections.

I chose Brain and Cognition because this field of research is most exciting to me. The domain of human cognition is for a large part an uncharted area of research, it carries some mystery. I describe myself as a thinker and like to be emerged in the process of finding solutions. The study program was greatly focused on the scientific background of theoretical concepts, that is, how did researchers find their results? Instead of passively absorbing knowledge, I was being encouraged to be critical and think of ways to find the right answers.

The study program provided me with the great opportunity to choose my own Thesis-research topic. Being a music enthusiast and musician, I wanted to know more about the cognitive processes and underlying biological principles that are associated with music processing. I asked Jan van Strien, Professor in Biological and Cognitive Psychology, to be my supervisor. My research was focused on the electrophysiological response of the brain to unexpected musical events in familiar music. I devised an EEG experiment: subjects listened to familiar music fragments that were slightly manipulated while their brain activity was being recorded. Some chords in the music fragments were slightly altered in pitch. Interestingly, these manipulations were associated with very distinct brain responses. 

Currently, I have a position as PhD Candidate on a project about cognitive and linguistic aspects of social-media usage. For me personally, the Master Brain and Cognition has proven to be a great choice, it has provided me with a strong fundament to start a scientific career.