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Higher cognitive functions

The course will present central theoretical and empirical issues related to higher cognitive functions with a specific focus on cognitive control functions.

One aim of the course is to examine different forms of higher cognitive functions by focusing on the relation among executive functioning, attention, memory and metacognition. The course will deal with individual and developmental differences in executive control functions. The course also aims at elucidating the interplay between emotional and cognitive control and their underlying neural mechanisms.

  • Course structure

    From the syllabus: These [cognitive] 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.

    This course will not be given in the autumn semester 2023.

    Course syllabus
    Higher cognitive functions, 7,5 credits, autumn 2021 (126 Kb)

    Teaching format

    The course consists of lectures, seminars and exercises.

    See more details below and in the course syllabus.

    Course Objectives

    After completing the course, students should be better able to analyse and critically reflect on central issues of higher cognitive functions.

    Students are also expected to gain 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, and developmental trends in executive control function.


    The examination is based on an individual written assignment.

    For further details, see the course syllabus.


    Course leader: Professor Timo Mäntylä,

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    A complete list of course readings is found in the course syllabus.

    The list is subject to change until two months prior to the start of the course. In case the new course syllabus is missing on this page by then, please check with the course leader before you buy any expensive books etc.

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    Registered students should primarily use Athena for teacher communication.

    To contact the Student office or a Student Councellor, see below.

    More contacts in Education

    Student office - Master's level
    Study councellor - Master's level