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.


To study on a distance education will give you different opportunities than on-campus teaching. It means that, to a large extent, you will be able to plan your studies yourself, both in terms of time and place.

However, keep in mind that most distance education includes a number of compulsory digital lectures and digital seminars during the weekdays. Some distance education also include compulsory get-togethers, for which you will have to travel to Växjö or Kalmar.

There are a number of different ways to be a distance student, the common denominator being that a large part of your study work is carried out on the web. You communicate with the teacher and your fellow students using a learning platform with discussion forums, group work, recorded lectures or video meetings using a web cam.

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