Interview: Albert Kok

Albert Kok (1939)

Physiological psychology at the University of Amsterdam (1987-2004)

Kok studied at the University of Leiden and, during his years of military service, worked as a psychologist for the selection of officers. He worked for the Institute for Clinical and Industrial Psychology at the University of Utrecht, later on at the psychology department of the Free University of Amsterdam. In 1976 he defended his thesis on Activation and Specificity: how attention manifests itself in autonomous and EEG variables. In his inaugural speech, he saw two important research traditions converging in cognitive neurosciences: the mental chronometry of F.C. Donders and the phrenology of F.J. Gall. The simultaneous measurement of processes in time and the localization of underlying mechanisms in the brain shouldn’t lose track of psychological theory development.

It is about discovering underlying mechanisms and not determining what area in the brain lights up, according to Kok. His research focused on physiological en neurobiological aspects of selective attention en control- and inhibition processes. His interests now focus on the integration of cognitive psychology and neuroscience and corresponding neurophilosophical theory development.