Cognitive Neuroscience of Language
Full course description
Language is one of the most relevant cognitive skills in humans. We listen, speak, type, joke, and think a lot during the day without being aware of how we do it. We are not aware of it simply because language comprehension and production is highly automatic. In this course, we zoom into the hidden cognitive complexity and mysteries and will study language from different scientific angles. At the end, we integrate all and practice an "application of our knowledge".
During the first part of the course, we study the theoretical background of language processing and learn how it received empirical support from psycholinguistics – mainly based on behavioural experiments. We add insights that are more recent from cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on information transfer within the language network. During reading and open discussion, we will learn about the current state of the art: What problems need to be solved by the cognitive language system? How does our brain solve them? We will discuss the consequences in case the network is not functioning well – as in Aphasia after stroke, or in developmental dyslexia. We also will learn that not all is known yet. We will read papers that bring first answers, using methods such as eCog, EEG, fMRI, and anatomical and functional connectivity.
This knowledge will be applied in writing of an individual research proposal that addresses a certain open issue in language, ranging from fundament to applied topics (such as in Aphasia after stroke, or dyslexia).
- knowledge of theoretical background of cognitive neuroscience of language with regard to content (psycholinguistic model, dual route model) and methods (design, acquisition techniques: RT, EEG, fMRI, analysis teaching techniques: ERP components, frequency analysis, fMRI region of interest and network analysis). Criteria, content, writing process of a research proposal following provided guideline;
- making informed choices of a theme for a research proposal based on reading of language and disorder literature, ranging from fundamental cognitive neuroscience to translation into clinics or societal application;
- apply Critical thinking to evaluate the literature (limits, shortcomings, open questions);
- application of knowledge in writing of a research proposal about an investigation of a "still open" issue in language research;
- oral presentation of the proposal idea and of the progress in writing to peers, peer reviewing during weekly panel discussions in a fair and constructive manner.