Psycholinguistics and experimental design

15 credits

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The capacity for language is a central feature of human cognition. Language allows us to communicate with eachother, accumulate knowledge and structure our thoughts. To understand the intricate structure of language we need to decompose our language skills into basic building blocks and operations. These building blocks include the knowledge we acquire about a language when we grow up, but also the knowledge we get when learning a second language (or third or fourth). We acquire knowledge about sound patterns, the meaning of lexical items and their syntactic features (see course 4en016 for details on syntax). But language also involves the processes of how to retrieve information about e.g. meaning, how to generate larger structures from elementary building block as in building words or sentences, and building sentence level and disocurse level meaning.

In psycholinguistics we investigate what this knowlege and these processes are, how they are structured and put to use, and in what way context and discourse influence them.

In this course students develop a thorough understanding of modern psycholinguistic theories and methods related to current research in cognitive science and neuroscience. Among other things, we look at the perception and production of speech sounds, words, and sentences. We learn about different approaches to how the mental lexicon is structured and accessed, how words are combined and structures are parsed and understood. We study theories about speaker and hearer involvement in discourse and communicative contexts. We learn about how children acquire language and what we know about multilingualism from a psycholinguistic perspective.

Moreover, we explore a number of different experimental methods and how psycholinguistic research questions are formulated and answered through these methods.


Roughly 15 minutes with a bike from the city centre, you will find Linnaeus University’s campus. It is like a small society with the university, student accommodation, and student life. Here you become part of a creative knowledge environment.

What will you come across on an excursion in Växjö – the city of contrasts? You will find good restaurants, a celebrated hockey team, and cozy cafés where you can enjoy a latte with lingonberry flavour. In Växjö, beautiful nature is always just around the corner; the city is surrounded by lakes and forests. Students like the combination of the city centre and the active student life on campus. Your dream of the future starts here!

Students in house M