The course is not taught in 2005/2006. Students interested in Cognitive Neuroscience
can take the course on "Cognitive Neuroscience of Visual Processing".
Marielle Lange (M.Lange@ed.ac.uk)
Psychology: Room UF36, Dept of Psychology, 7 George Square, tel: 503444.
Informatics: Room C13, ANC Forrest Hill, tel: 503088
A = psychology office
B = ANC (FH) office
Times and places
This course runs during the 1st semester, on Mondays and Thursdays, 10.00-10.50 am, in
Forrest Hill, Room A9/11 (on the ground floor, to the right short after the entry door)
Aims and objectives
This course provides an introduction to the processing in the
brain that underlies language use. We will look at the range of techniques by which
we can investigate what is going on in the brain during listening, speaking,
reading and writing. We will look at the different ways of modelling this
processing, but with an emphasis on connectionist modelling. We will look at as
many recognised forms of language breakdown as we can find: the varieties of
dysphasia and dyslexia, and the language-specific processing problems of wider
exceptional cognitive circumstances such as Williams syndrome, autism, and so
- Means of studying language and the brain: fMRI, PET, EEG, etc.
- Modelling paradigms: classical modelling, connectionist modelling, statistical modelling.
- The normal processes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
- The different impairments, developmental and acquired, as they occur on their own or as part of a wider syndrome (dyslexias, dysphasias, and other impairments).
Eighteen hours of lectures, and one essay.
No mandatory tutorials. Video sesssions and question/answer sessions may be organized upon request.
Group discussions can be organized on any topic that relates to
the lecture content if there is sufficient shared interest among students.
!! this will change slightly in 2004, details to follow shortly!!
MSc students will be assessed by means of a 4,000-word essay, which
will count for 100% of the mark.
A double submission format will be adopted.
- An outline of the essay of 2000 words MAXIMUM should be submitted by Monday 1st November
the LATEST (that's the week after the semester break). This outline will be returned to you,
commented (but unmarked), within a forthnight.
- The final essay of 4,000 words will be submitted by Friday, Jan 15, 2004 the LATEST (right after the
Christmas break. The essay will be marked but not thoroughly commented (it will be accompanied
by a marking grid, with about a paragraph of comments)
The outline should be submitted in an electronic format. The final essay should be submitted both in electronic and
paper format (for administration).
The marking grid used to assess the essays can be viewed in pdf
or gif format
No programming expertise is involved. Some elementary knowledge
of linguistics might be useful, as might some acquaintance with the ideas of
A Message Board
has been created to facilitate any exchange of information and resources between students.
It can be accessed at:
This message board will not be moderated and I plan to have a peek only about once a week. Direct questions to the lecturer should be
addressed by email to M.Lange@ed.ac.uk.
The course will draw on three books:
Note: I do not support amazon. I link to Amazon because they provide many additional details about the book.
- Brown, C.M. & Hagoort, P. (1999). (Eds.)
The Neurocognition of Language.
Oxford: New York.
- Rugg, M.D. (1997). (Ed.)
Psychology Press; Hove.
- Bishop, D. & Mogford, K. (1993). (Eds.)
Language development in exceptional circumstances.
A series of readings will be provided for each lecture as appropriate and lecture notes
will be made available at the lectures and on the web, the day after the lecture.
Making up for gaps in knowledge
Below are some suggestions of extra readings to fill in knowledge gaps you may have or to increase your general knowledge of the topic.
Hence, at a master level, you are expected to begin to take the initiative of your formation. Going to the lectures is expected to
take only a very small portion of the time you dedicate to the course (lecture 18 hours for assignment 60 and private study 42). You are more than
welcome to open some handbooks and get some knowlegde on the various lecture content BEFORE the lecture on that topic.
if you intend to buy a book, the best "single book" option is probably
- Banich, M. (2004)
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology .
[Make sure you purchase the latest edition, that is the second one]
(@ Hougthon Mifflin)
If you have no prior acquaintance with psycholinguistics or cognitive psychology, you should read one of these:
- Pinker, S. (1994).
The language instinct.
New York: William Morrow.
[brilliant book. Chapters 9, 10, 11 would be especially useful for this course]
- Harley, T. A. (2001).
The Psychology of language.
2nd Edition. Psychology Press.
- Altmann, G. (1997).
The ascent of babel.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[Introductory Psycholinguistics book, fast and enjoyable read]
(@ amazon )
If you have no prior acquaintance with (cognitive) neuroscience, I recommend the reading or skimming of:
- Posner, M. I., & Raichle, M. E. (1994).
Images of Mind.
- Kob, B & Wilshaw, I.Q. (2003, 5th ed.).
Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology.
Freeman & Company, W. H.
- Gazzaniga, M.S., Ivry, R.B., & Mangun, G.R. (1998, 2002).
Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind.
If you have no prior acquaintance whatsoever, I recommend for a quick (but not detailed enough) overview:
- Obler, L. K., & Gjerlow, K. (1999).
Language and the brain.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
But I do not recommend the following book, that you may spot in the bookshops:
- Carter, R. (2000).
Mapping the mind.
University of California Press.
[Good read, wonderful illustrations, full of anecdotes, but very little overlap with the course's content]
© Marielle Lange (M.Lange@ed.ac.uk),
Last updated September 2004