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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (INFR11006)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaInformatics Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course is intended to be an advanced introduction to the cognitive neuroscience of language. It is designed primarily for graduate students in the MSc informatics program.

How do we use language? What are the brain bases of language? This course endeavours to provide a state-of-the art survey on the current knowledge of the way the brain organizes itself to represent and process various types of language-related knowledge (from words to discourses, spoken or written).

In the course students address the central question of whether processes and representations in particular parts of the brain are correlated with language functions identified by psycholinguists. In our attempt to answer this question, we will draw on theories and methods from a variety of disciplines, Neuroanatomy, Cognitive Psychology, Computational modelling, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Functional neuroimaging techniques, and the interconnection of them all, Cognitive Neuroscience. These various approaches to data and theory will be used to provide a survey of current issues in the correlations between language use and specific brain areas and functions. The course is designed to give students a tour of some of the current issues, data and questions and provide them with the vocabulary and the concepts to pursue their own research interests.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements For Informatics PG and final year MInf students only, or by special permission of the School. Students should ideally have a background in one or more of the following - Linguistics, Cognitive Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Cognitive Sciences, or Neurosciences. Students without such a background are encouraged to read one of the textbooks listed on the lecture website, in the section "making up for gaps in knowledge"
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 11:10 - 13:00
First Class Week 1, Wednesday, 11:10 - 13:00, Zone: Central. AT 2.12
No Exam Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralLecture1-11 11:10 - 13:00
First Class Week 1, Wednesday, 11:10 - 13:00, Zone: Central. AT 2.12
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
1 - The fundamentals of brain neuroanatomy
2 - An introduction to some of the most prevalent language-related neuropsychological disorders.
3 - The various methods used in cognitive neuroscience (case studies of brain-damaged patients, controlled experiments, functional neuroimaging)
4 - The relevance of studies involving brain imaging for psycholinguistic theories.
5 - The major theoretical issues in the relationship between brain and language
6 - The contribution that each of the fields ? cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, computational modelling, and brain-imaging ? makes to the study of the relation between brain and language, and the value of a multidisplinary approach
7 - At the end of this course students will be able to:
8 - Read research papers in the areas of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and brain-imaging and to summarize their central ideas and/or results
9 - Perform a literature search to assemble a bibliography relevant to a specific issue in the cognitive neuroscience of language
10 - Write a research review at a publishable level of accuracy.
Assessment Information
Written Examination 0
Assessed Assignments 100
Oral Presentations 0

Assessment is by one essay written during and just after the course of lectures.

If delivered in semester 1, this course will have an option for semester 1 only visiting undergraduate students, providing assessment prior to the end of the calendar year.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Language and the brain:
1. Introduction and metatheoretical issues
2. Techniques and technologies

Hemispheric specialization
3. Hemispheric specialization and language
4. The processing style of the left and right hemispheres

Pathways to the brain
5. Written language: from eye to brain
6. Spoken language: from ear to brain

Lexical processing
7. Spoken and written word recognition
8. Surface and phonological dyslexia
9. Deep dyslexia and the right hemisphere

Dependence upon peripheral systems
10. Language problems due to lack of attention (neglect)
11. Memory and language

Sentence processing
12. Sentence processing and the role of syntax, Broca's aphasia
13. Syntax and the normal brain
14. fMRI investigations of syntactic processing

Language and cognition, acquisition and evolution of language and other issues
15. Autism spectrum disorders: Christopher, the "linguistic savant"
16. "Language" in animals
17. Acquisition and the critical period
18. Synaesthesia

Relevant QAA Computing Curriculum Sections: Artificial Intelligence
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list * Module readings will be provided before each lecture. The principal textbook is:
* Brown, C.M. and Hagoort, P. (1999). The Neurocognition of Language, Oxford: New York.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Lectures 20
Tutorials 0
Timetabled Laboratories 0
Non-timetabled assessed assignments 40
Private Study/Other 40
Total 100
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Richard Shillcock
Tel: (0131 6)50 4425
Course secretaryMiss Kate Weston
Tel: (0131 6)50 2701
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