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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING2131 Psycholinguistics

20 creditsClass Size: 36

Module manager: Chris Norton

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are required to have completed one of the following modules, or equivalent:
- MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound
- ENGL1021 Analysing English
- PSYC1601 Introduction to Psychology
- PSYC1607 Cognitive Psychology
Students who have not completed MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound should be prepared to do some additional reading to familiarise themselves with linguistic concepts built on in this module. Chapters 1 to 6 of Genettiā€™s How languages work: An introduction to language and linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2014) are a good starting point.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Psycholinguistics lies at the interface between psychology and linguistics. It is a broad field of study, encompassing theoretical and experimental research. The main areas of focus for this module are non-human communication, innateness and the biological basis for language, and language acquisition. In exploring these issues, several important questions are addressed, for example: Are humans biologically endowed with the capacity for language? How do children acquire language? What can we learn about the way the brain processes language by looking at language and other cognitive impairments? The module provides a foundation for further, more specialised study of psycholinguistic topics. Students are expected to have been introduced to psycholinguistics on a Level 1 module in linguistics, English language or psychology before enrolling on this module. Having completed this module, students can go on to do more advanced psycholinguistics modules.


The module aims to:
(1) familiarise students with the field of psycholinguistics, the study of the relationship between language and psychology
(2) acquaint students with the main theoretical issues that underlie the field, for example the nativist debate
(3) cover major developments in psycholinguistics in the past 50 years which underpin current research
(4) explore the relationship between psycholinguistics and other adjacent fields of study, including theoretical linguistics, cognitive science and language evolution
(5) develop students' analytical skills through practical analyses of experimental data and source readings
(6) develop students' writing and research skills through an assessed essay on a topic in psycholinguistics

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
(1) understand and discuss a broad range of theories, concepts, and terminology from psycholinguistics
(2) show critical awareness of source literature in scientific journals
(3) apply various aspects of experimental design and methodology relevant to psycholinguistics
(4) interpret relatively complex experimental data
(5) recognise basic statistical approaches to data analysis


In lectures and seminars, psycholinguistic theory and data are explored through questions and topics such as the following:
(1) What are the design features of language vs. other communication systems?
(2) To what extent is the capacity for language a uniquely human trait?
(3) Are humans biologically endowed with the capacity for language?
(4) How do children acquire language?
(5) Are first and subsequent languages learned via the same or by different processes?
(6) How do the mind and brain store and process language?
(7) What can we learn about language processing by looking at language disorders?
(8) What is the relationship between language and other cognitive abilities, e.g. Theory of Mind?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information.

Students are expected to devote 180 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- Reading and online exercise preparation for lectures: (10x7.5=) 75 hours
- Preparation for seminars: (5x4=) 20 hours
- Preparation for assessed essay: 45 hours
- Preparation for exam: 40 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored and supported through seminar exercises and discussion, and written feedback on the coursework assessment is returned before the examination.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500-word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information. Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:35


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