Brain and Language
Run by School of Human and Behavioural Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Marie-Josephe Tainturier
Overall aims and purpose
Language is a wondrous feat of the human brain. By allowing us to communicate our thoughts and feelings through space and time, it is a central pillar of the most extraordinary accomplishments of humankind. But how does it work? What when we speak more than one language? What when things go wrong? In this advanced module we will explore several aspects of spoken and written language abilities in both impaired and unimpaired populations. We will examine research evidence from cognitive psychology (errors, reaction times) and neuroscience (brain imaging, evoked potentials, brain stimulation). In addition, we will consider how the study of language disorders (e.g., aphasia, dyslexia) contributes to a better understanding of the neural bases of language.
In this advanced module we will explore several aspects of spoken and written language processing in normal and impaired populations. Specific topics will include: Understanding spoken words, producing words, reading and writing, bilingualism. We will review research evidence from converging sources: cognitive psychology (errors, reaction times), neuroscience (brain imaging, evoked potentials, brain stimulation) and neuropsychology (e.g., aphasia, dyslexia). We will discuss which methods are best suited to tackle different questions and how to gage the strength of the evidence in favour of different viewpoints.
Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.
Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theoretical issues.
Adequate answer to the question, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.
Demonstrate their ability to relate data to theory on topics presented in lectures.
Demonstrate their ability to interpret findings from cognitive neuropsychology and brain-imaging studies.
Critically evaluate research articles related to the topics covered.
Present a clear summary of one or more research articles.
Write a proposal for a new study into one of the topics covered.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different methods used to study brain and language
Demonstrate their ability to present research findings to a student audience.
Demonstrate engagement with the materials in weekly seminars
Critically evaluate and offer constructive feedback on colleagues’ presentations
|Written assignment, including essay||Project proposal||
Written research proposal on a topic of your own choosing related to the course content.
|FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT||Critical mini-report||
Four brief critical evaluations of assigned research papers (12%). Due: On weeks 5, 7, 9 and 11 (26, 28, 30, 32). The lowest mark will be dropped so that each of your three best critiques will count for 4% of your module mark.
|GROUP PRESENTATION||Oral presentation of one research study||
A powerpoint presentation and discussion of one assigned research paper. Students will work in pairs for a total presentation time of 20 minutes. Due: On one allocated week between Weeks 3 and 10. Slides must be submitted on the day.
|CLASS PARTICIPATION||Class participation at weekly seminars and group work sessions||8.00|
|INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION||Practice proposal presentation||
A 5 minutes presentation and class discussion of your preliminary proposal. This is a formative assessment to prepare students for the final assignment and receive helpful feedback on your initial ideas from the MO and the rest of the class. Slides to be submitted. Due: Week 35
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Seminars will take place weekly from the third week. Students will be actively involved in the delivery of these seminars, through oral presentations and group discussions. The module convener will assign the readings and guide the discussions. Oral presentations will take place during the first hour, followed by group work in the second hour. During the final seminar, students will present their ideas for a research proposal informally. They will receive feedback from the lecturers and fellow students in order to facilitate the preparation of the final assignment.
Each lecture will focus on one topic, explaining key concepts and presenting empirical evidence from studies using a variety of methods. Together with the assigned readings, the lectures will provide the background needed for the weekly seminars and related assignments.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
- Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
- Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
- Retrieve and organise information effectively.
- Handle primary source material critically.
- Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
- Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
- Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
- Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
- Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
- Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
- Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
- Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
Resource implications for students
Several copies of the core text will be on short loan in the library. However, purchase is recommended, especially for students who will be taking other neuroscience modules.
Core text: Ward, J. (2010 or later edition). The Student Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience. Hove: Psychology Press.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C801: BSC Psychol w Neuropsychol year 3 (BSC/PSYN)
- C83B: BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology (4yr with Incorp Found) year 3 (BSC/PSYN1)
- C809: BSc Psychology with Neuropsy (with International Experience) year 4 (BSC/PSYNIE)
- C84P: BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology with Placement Year year 4 (BSC/PSYNP)
Optional in courses:
- X320: BA Astudiaethau Plentyndod ac Ieuenctid a Seicoleg year 3 (BA/APIS)
- MC98: BA Criminology/Psychology year 3 (BA/CRP)
- X319: BA Childhood and Youth Studies and Psychology year 3 (BA/CYP)
- CQ83: BA English Language & Psychology year 3 (BA/ELPSY)
- R181: BA French with Psychology (with International Experience) year 4 (BA/FPIE)
- R1C8: BA French with Psychology year 3 (BA/FPSY)
- R2C8: BA German with Psychology year 3 (BA/GPSY)
- Q1C8: BA Linguistics and Psychology year 3 (BA/LP)
- CL83: BA Sociology/Psychology year 3 (BA/PS)
- CL84: BA Social Policy/Psychology year 3 (BA/SPP)
- 6S26: BSc Neuropsychology year 3 (BSC/NI)
- C880: BSC Psych with Cl & Hlth Psych year 3 (BSC/PHS)
- C88B: BSc Psychology w Clin & Health Psy (4yr with Incorp Found) year 3 (BSC/PHS1)
- 8X44: BSc Psychology with Clinical & Health Psychology (Int Exp) year 4 (BSC/PHSIE)
- C88P: BSc Psychology with Clinical & Health Psy with Placement Yr year 4 (BSC/PHSP)
- C804: BSc Psychology (with International Experience) year 4 (BSC/PIE)
- C800: BSC Psychology year 3 (BSC/PS)
- C81B: BSc Psychology (4 year with Incorporated Foundation) year 3 (BSC/PS1)
- C80F: BSc Psychology year 3 (BSC/PSF)
- C80P: BSc Psychology with Placement Year year 4 (BSC/PSP)
- M1C8: LLB Law with Psychology year 3 (LLB/LPSY)
- C808: MSci Psychology with Clinical & Health Psychology year 3 (MSCI/PHS)
- C810: MSci Psychology with International Experience year 3 (MSCI/PIE)
- C807: MSci Psychology year 3 (MSCI/PS)