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Language

The  course  is  designed  to  give  an  overview  of  key  issues  in  the psychology  of language,  understood  as  the  study  of  the  human  language  faculty.  It  will  discuss  the  cognitive framework in this area, the behavioural evidence, how language is used, and what can be learned from both impaired and unimpaired language users.

The lectures are accompanied by a 2-hour lab and a 1-hour tutorial.

Lecture 49:
What is language and why study it?
This lecture will give a general definition of language based on features that distinguish language from other communication systems. The lecture will also introduce some key concepts in the psychology of language. For example, what is the difference between language structure and language process? What is understood by language competence and language performance?
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Monday, 4 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 50:
Incrementality in language comprehension
How efficient is our language comprehension system? This lecture will explain the concept of incrementality, which holds that the comprehension system uses available information as quickly as possible. This lecture will deal with the features of the language system that make it very efficient, and sometimes even predictive.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 5 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 51:
Illusions in language
How accurate is language comprehension? What aspects of language can lead to comprehension failures? This lecture will explain that the same features that make the language system incremental and predictive also make it susceptible to illusions.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 7 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 52:
Bilingualism
What does it mean to have two languages? This lecture will explain the difficulty with defining what bilingualism is and then cover theories and research on how people learn, represent and process two languages.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Monday, 11 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 53:
Aphasias
This lecture will give a general introduction to the main aphasias, describe its symptomatology and underlying pathology, and explain the difficulties with attempts at localization of function.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre B
Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 54:
Language use
How do people use language? This lecture will discuss how language use involves more than being able to just produce and comprehend language, and will show how language users work together to achieve successful communication.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 14 March, 2019 - 11:10 to 12:00
Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should:

  • Understand the cognitive framework through which we study language
  • Understand evidence from both impaired and unimpaired populations
  • Understand key mechanisms in the psychology of language
References: 

Lecture 1: Pinker, S. (1994). The Language Instinct: The new science of language and mind. Penguin UK. Chapter 1 (An Instinct to Acquire an Art; p.15-24) & Chapter 4 (How language works; p. 83-125)

Lectures 2 and 3: Goldstein, E.B (2015) Cognitive psychology. (4th edition). Belmont, C.A.: Thomson Wadsworth (Chapter 11, p.297-332)

Lecture 4: From Harley, T.A. (2014) Psychology of language​ (4th edition). Hove: Psychology Press.  Chapter 5 (Bilingualism; p.153-164)

Lecture 5: From Kandel, E. R., Schwartz, J. H., Jessell, T. M. (1995) Essentials of Neural Science and Behavior. Appleton & Lange. Chapter 34 (Language; p. 633-650)

Lecture 6: From Harley, T.A. (2014) Psychology of language (4th edition). Hove: Psychology Press.  Chapter 14 (How do we use language; p.449-459)

Further background can be found in:

  • Harley, T.A. (2014) Psychology of language (4th edition). Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Traxler, M. J. (2011). Introduction to psycholinguistics. Wiley.