Cognitive Neuroscience of Language
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. Only when we meet people with aphasia after stroke, or people who stutter, or who have severe reading issues we notice the diversity of problems the human brain has to deal with during communication. In this course, we study language from different scientific angles, ranging from fundamental principles of language processing to understanding what can go wrong. From the beginning, students make their own choice on a preferred topic, and will conceptualize and write a research proposal in which they theoretically tackle one open question of their choice.
We first study the theoretical background of language processing and learn how it received empirical support from psycholinguistics – mainly based on behavioural experiments. By reading more over time, we get insights on language from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. 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. From the readings, each participant select the topic of interest for the proposal, extract open questions, formulate research questions, present the ideas to peers, and write the proposals on how to investigate this selected topic of interest.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
- knowledge of theoretical background of cognitive neuroscience of language with regard to content (psycholinguistic model, dual route model) and a selection of methods (design, acquisition techniques: RT, EEG, fMRI, analysis teaching techniques: ERP components, frequency analysis, fMRI region of interest and network analysis);
- knowledge of Criteria, content, writing process of a research proposal following provided guideline;
- making informed choices of a preferred theme for a research proposal based on reading of fundamental, clinical, or social cognitive neuroscience literature;
- apply critical thinking to evaluate the literature (state of the art, limits, shortcomings, extract 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 during weekly panel discussions;
- constructive peer reviewing in written form and as presentation;
- active participation in scientific discussions;
- working in teams / team science context.