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

Undergraduate Course: Language and Cognition (PSYL10171)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the relationship between language and cognition: How we talk, and how we think. We will examine questions like: Do we think using language? Do people who speak different languages think about the world in different ways? How does our language impact our social identity? And how do our cultures depend upon our languages? To answer these questions, we will examine theories and data from cognitive and social psychology, from cultural psychology, from psychophysics, and from developmental psychology.
Course description BPS Core area - Developmental, Cognitive

The course covers the relationship between how we think and how we talk. It examines how this relationship influences perception, cognition, and - especially - development. The goals of the course are to:

(a) Introduce important theories and phenomena concerning the relationship between language and thought.
(b) Understand how this relationship arises from mutual influence between individuals and culture in the dynamic context of development.
(c) Illustrate these mechanisms in various domains (e.g., perception, thinking and reasoning, social cognition) in the first part of the course, and study in more depth how they contribute to changes in one specific domain (development) in the second part of the course.
(d) Provide students with an introduction to some of the methods used within this area of cognitive science including experimentation, formal theory development, and statistical methods.

The course will develop students' skills at critical analysis and writing. It will also offer students the opportunity to apply their developing skills with the R language to analyze data on language and thought.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

**Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of recent scientific advances, debates, and challenges regarding the relationship between language and thought.
  2. Analyze and critique theoretical proposals about the relationship between language and thought.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how cultural systems like language do and do not influence cognition, perception and development
  4. Analyze the role of language and culture in the development of cognitive abilities
  5. Gain experience evaluating primary research data in the cognitive sciences.
Reading List
Students on the course will mainly engage with the topics through reading the primary research literature. Examples of the types of reading are provided below.

Gelman, S. A., & Roberts, S. O. (2017). How language shapes the cultural inheritance of categories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(30), 7900-7907

Gentner, D., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (Eds.). (2003). Language in mind: Advances in the study of language and thought. MIT press.

Kinzler, K. D. (2021). Language as a Social Cue. Annual Review of Psychology, 72, 241-264.

Lupyan, G., & Clark, A. (2015). Words and the world: Predictive coding and the language-perception-cognition interface. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(4), 279-284.

Rabagliati, H., Robertson, A., & Carmel, D. (2018). The importance of awareness for understanding language. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(2), 190.

Srinivasan, M., & Rabagliati, H. (2015). How concepts and conventions structure the lexicon: Cross-linguistic evidence from polysemy. Lingua, 157, 124-152.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will encourage students' Research and Enquiry skills, through thinking critically and creatively about primary research and proposing new research ideas. It will build Communication skills through writing practice and discussion/presentation in seminars. It will encourage a passion to Engage Globally by examining cross-cultural psychological and linguistic research.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hugh Rabagliati
Tel: (0131 6)50 3454
Course secretaryMiss Susan Scobie
Tel: (0131 6)51 5505
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