Internship | Estimating emotional and cognitive state

Explore what physiological signals tell us about mental state!



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

Our research is on extracting information about an individual’s cognitive or emotional state from (neuro)physiological signals such as EEG brain signals, heart rate and pupil size, as well as other potential sources of information that we can measure without continuously having to ask users to rate their experience. This research is potentially useful in a range of situations, from adapting tasks of an air traffic controller to fit his or her current level of workload, to continuously evaluating the experience of a ride in an amusement park. We work on quite fundamental questions, often performed in controlled laboratory settings, as well as studies performed in the context that we are ultimately interested in. Part of our work falls in the field of brain-computer interfaces, and we heavily rely on methods used in that field. Information on the general topic can be found in: Brouwer et al. (2015) Using neurophysiological signals that reflect cognitive or affective state: six recommendations to avoid common pitfalls. Front. Neurosci. 9:136.

For most projects, you will be working with participants. Depending on the exact project, you will be using high-end laboratory equipment to record for instance EEG and skin conductance, and/or wearable versions of this; and/or other equipment such as eye trackers, cameras and software to extract facial expression. Data analysis will involve signal processing, dealing with lost data, statistics and machine learning. We usually aim to publish our studies in scientific journals or present them at international conferences. Searching, interpreting and summarizing literature is also a common part of the research.

What do we require of you?

We are looking for a motivated, curious and pro-active student, who really likes to sort something out. For recording data, a responsible attitude and precise working are important, as well as some affinity with technical systems. Programming skills (matlab) are required, interest and skills in machine learning (neural networks, pattern recognition) are strongly desired.

What can you expect of your work situation?

You will be part of research at the edge of the field of physiological computing and brain-computer interfaces, adding important, still missing building blocks. Most projects involve (international) partners such as universities and/or companies, giving you the opportunity to have a broader look at potential future employers than only TNO. The working atmosphere is open and friendly.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you want to be sure that there is a possible opening for the time that you would do your internship, you may first check with before applying. Please shortly indicate your background/skills, nationality and the approximate time that you would be available.

Contact: Anne-Marie Brouwer
Phone number: +31 (0)88-86 65960

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now


Dr. Anne-Marie Brouwer

  • EEG ECG eye emotion workload attention effort

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