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Cognitive Neuroscience of Language


Admission requirements

MSc Psychology (research) students


This course has two goals; first it is intended to provide an overview of state-of-the-art developments in the cognitive neuro-science of human language (CNL) processing (book and exam). Second, it intends to review and discuss selected topics in the cognitive science of language (lectures, student presentations), especially topics related to actual research at our university. Topics include the representations and structures of language, learning language as well as the cognitive architectures which underlie speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as contributions from research on brain lesions. In addition, the computational modeling literature on word and sentence processing will be critically reviewed, as these models have triggered fundamental new approaches in cognitive science, in general. Finally, we discuss some prospects and problems of computational modeling and brain imaging techniques for the study of language.
On the basis of further reading assignments, each student will orally present a topic and stimulate, lead and organize further discussion in the group.

Course objectives

Students acquire in-depth knowledge of the results of behavioural and neuroscientific research on language processing and critically reflect on the use of computational, behavioral and brain-imaging methods in this field.




Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Discussion of papers

Assessment method

The assessment for this course is based on:

  • An oral presentation of a topic

  • A written exam

The Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud


Information on Look for the course in the course catalog under Faculty of Humanities.

Reading list

  • Trevor Harley. (2014). The Psychology of Language. From Data to Theory, 3rd edition. Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis.

  • Articles, that will be made available on Blackboard

Contact information

  • Dr. F (Fenna) Poletiek
    Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Wassenaarseweg 52, room 2B24
    Tel: 071 527 3641