Skip to main content

Unit information: Advanced Psychology of Language in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Advanced Psychology of Language
Unit code PSYCM0052
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Damian
Open unit status Not open

Level 6 Psychology

Students must not have taken PSYC31049



School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit is a comprehensive overview of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms involved in language acquisition, comprehension and production. A major aim of this unit is to sensitise students to the fact that, although seemingly effortless, language activities require a great deal of complex and fast mental computation. In keeping with recent advances in behavioural neuroscience, the neuro-anatomical substrates of language functions will also be examined. The unit will cover the following topics: Language and thought, speech recognition, speech production., bilingualism, neuroscience of language and aphasiology, evolutionary perspectives.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit, students will be able to explain how language processing differs from other auditory and visual abilities and discuss current contentions about the status of language in evolution. They will also be able to answer the question, What do we know when we know language?Moreover, students will master basic notions in speech acoustics and they will be able to identify the areas controlling language on a brain map. By the end of the unit, students will have demonstrated independent study informed by primary sources and knowledge at the forefront of the discipline, and have a Master’s level ability in terms of critical insight, depth of knowledge, independent thought and the ability to propose new hypotheses.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 18 x 50 minute lectures and 5 x 50 minute tutorials

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: one 2000 word essay (30%) and one 2 hour exam (70%)

Reading and References

Altmann, G. T. M. (1997). The ascent of Babel: An exploration of language, mind and understanding. Oxford: Oxford University Press. P37 ALT

Ellis, A. W., & Young, A. W. (1996). Human cognitive neuropsychology: A textbook with readings. Hove, England: Psychology Press. QP360 ELL

Gaskell, M. G. (2007). The Oxford handbook of psycholinguistics. Oxford: Oxford

University Press. BS455 OXF Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct. New York: Harper Collins. P106 PIN

Traxler, M. J. & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2006). Handbook of psycholinguistics. London: Elsevier. P37 HAN