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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Sentence Comprehension (PSYL11001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is designed to provide an advanced understanding of current psycholinguistic research in sentence comprehension. We study the nature of the human sentence processor, looking at its architecture particularly in relation to the mechanisms used to resolve syntactic and semantic ambiguities. Methodological and theoretical issues are considered alongside each other.
Course description The course pays special attention to evidence for the ways in which different types of information come into play as sentences are understood, looking in turn at syntactic, semantic, and frequency information and their effects on the processing of local and long-distance (unbounded) dependencies. Evidence is presented from studies which use a number of methodologies, including self-paced reading, eyetracking, and event-related potentials (ERPs).

Where relevant, we will discuss the interaction between sentence processing and other levels of processing, such as lexical processing.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 3 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2500 word assignment and satisfactory course presentation
Feedback Formative assessment provided during student presentations and in-class discussions.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. obtain an advanced understanding of the core issues in current research on sentence processing. They will understand some of the key findings relating to garden path sentences, unbounded dependencies, and syntactic and semantic anomalies, and they will appreciate the main experimental techniques that are used in the field.
  2. evaluate the primary scientific literature critically and independently. These skills are essential for students to be able to design their own research projects and to write clear and persuasive scholarly reports.
Reading List
Altmann (1998) provides a good high-level introduction to the types of issue addressed in this course. For other, fairly approachable, overviews of (some) Sentence Processing research, try Mitchell (1994) or Tanenhaus and Trueswell (1995) and note their very opposing views! Two more recent textbooks that include various useful overview chapters include Gaskell (2007) and Traxler and Gernsbacher (2006).

For some background on methodology, have a look at Haberlandt (1994) or Just, Carpenter, and Woolley (1982). Carreiras and Clifton (2004) is another handbook that provides overviews of various methods and experimental findings.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Martin Pickering
Tel: (0131 6)50 3447
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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