Topics in Psycholinguistics
Language and Linguistics
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
05 October 2023
Requisites for this module
MA Q15012 Psycholinguistics,
PHD Q15048 Psycholinguistics
Understanding spoken or written language requires the rapid, incremental processing of novel compositional structures. On top of this, we must also integrate multiple sources of additional information, such as the prior discourse, physical context, social information, etc.
How are humans able to efficiently accomplish this task? To address this question, this module will consider principles of sentence processing that guide language understanding and features of lexical & sentence structure that facilitate comprehension. Specific topics are likely to include lexical access, reference processing, the role of working memory, the use of visual context, and computational models of language comprehension.
Because this module may be the first look into the study of language processing or cognitive psychology for students, a focus on research methods and paradigms available in psycholinguistics will also be introduced.
This course aims to:
1. Provide students with an introduction to current theories of language processing
2. Enable students to think critically about research methods used in psycholinguistics
3. Promote the acquisition of ‘transferable skills’, including data literacy, academic writing, and theoretical argumentation which will be useful beyond the scope of this module.
4. Cultivate written and oral presentation skills.
On completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. understand and assess current scientific debates psycholinguistics
2. summarise and present empirical results clearly and accurately;
3. critically evaluate theoretical approaches and research methods used in sentence processing research
4. understand and appreciate the relationship between linguistic theory and language processing.
5. present ideas in a structured and coherent way, using appropriate style and terminology, and demonstrating clarity, precision, accuracy and originality.
1 – Introduction to sentence processing (LL)
2 – Incremental models (the Sausage Machine) (LL)
3 – The Garden Path model (LL)
4 – Constraint-based models (LL)
5 – Depedency Locality Theory (LL)
6 – Processing long-distance dependencies (LL)
7 – Anaphora and reference (CDL)
8 – The role of working memory (CDL)
9 – Individual differences (CDL)
10 – Developmental aspects of sentence processing (LL)
This course consists of 10 weekly 2-hour lectures.
Traxler, M.J. and dawsonera (2011) Introduction to psycholinguistics: understanding language science
. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/universityofessex-ebooks/detail.action?docID=697786
Van Gompel, R.P.G. (2013) Sentence Processing
. Hove: Psychology Press. Available at: http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780203488454
Swinney, David A (no date) ‘Lexical Access during Sentence Comprehension: (Re)Consideration of Context Effects’, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
, 18(6). Available at: https://search.proquest.com/docview/1297349433/fulltextPDF/5C638DD6557F471CPQ/4?accountid=10766
Glenberg, A.M. and Kaschak, M.P. (2002) ‘Grounding language in action’, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
, 9(3), pp. 558–565. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196313
Indefrey, P. and Levelt, W.J.. (2004) ‘The spatial and temporal signatures of word production components’, Cognition
, 92(1-2), pp. 101–144. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2002.06.001
Frazier, L. and Fodor, J.D. (1978) ‘The sausage machine: A new two-stage parsing model’, Cognition
, 6(4), pp. 291–325. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0277(78)90002-1
Frazier, L. and Rayner, K. (1987) ‘Resolution of syntactic category ambiguities: Eye movements in parsing lexically ambiguous sentences’, Journal of Memory and Language
, 26(5), pp. 505–526. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-596X(87)90137-9
Traxler, M.J. and Pickering, M.J. (1996) ‘Plausibility and the Processing of Unbounded Dependencies:An Eye-Tracking Study’, Journal of Memory and Language
, 35(3), pp. 454–475. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1996.0025
Gordon, P.C., Grosz, B.J. and Gilliom, L.A. (1993) ‘Pronouns, Names, and the Centering of Attention in Discourse’, Cognitive Science
, 17(3), pp. 311–347. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog1703_1
Baddeley, A. (2003) ‘Working memory: looking back and looking forward’, Nature Reviews Neuroscience
, 4(10), pp. 829–839. Available at: https://essex.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/44UOES_INST/1h1udbn/cdi_proquest_miscellaneous_75729981
King, Jonathan & Just, Marcel Adam (1991) ‘Individual Differences in Syntactic Processing: The Role of Working Memory’, Journal of Memory and Language
, 30(5). Available at: https://search.proquest.com/docview/1297354876/C6B4AD11BD4749D3PQ/5?accountid=10766
Trueswell, J.C. et al.
(1999) ‘The kindergarten-path effect: studying on-line sentence processing in young children’, Cognition
, 73(2), pp. 89–134. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00032-3
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Essay (2000 Words)
Additional coursework information
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Laurel Lawyer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Ian Cunnings
University of Reading
Associate Professor in Psycholinguistics
Available via Moodle
Of 16 hours, 16 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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