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Unit information: Advanced Psychology of Language in 2018/19

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 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Professor. Damian
Open unit status Not open

Students must not have taken PSYC31051



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

On successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  1. Appraise research within the field of language by distinguishing language from auditory and visual cognitive ability
  2. Analyse contemporary issues within the field by demonstrating and then assessing how methodological approaches are applied to the study of language
  3. Justify the relevance and role of language processing within an evolutionary framework for cognition and behaviour
  4. Apply basic speech acoustics to the study of language
  5. Assess the brain regions that relate and control language processing on a brain map

Teaching details

This unit comprises lectures and tutorials

Assessment Details

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

Reading and References

Essential none


Traxler, M.J.(2011). Introduction to Psycholinguistics: Understanding language science. WileyBackwell. P37 TRA. Electronic copy available on UoB library website


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

Harley, T.A. (2014). The psychology of language: From data to theory (4th edition) Hove, England: Psyschology Press P37 HAR

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

Suggestions for recommended and further reading will be made separately through Blackboard