Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hours lecture/seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment language blog  35%
Semester Assessment lab experience  40%
Semester Assessment oral presentation  25%
Supplementary Assessment Students may be allowed to resit the failed element as determined by the examination board.  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1 Identify cognitive aspects of language and communication and their relation to the social dimensions of communication.

2 Relate communication problems to the cognitive foundations of communication and language.

3 Recognize the cognitive foundations of language and of the cognitive aspects of communication in different contexts

4 Categorise various types of communication and language acts


Language and communication is at the heart of human behaviour. To further understand cognitive and social processes, a deeper knowledge of psychology of language is necessary. This module is for advanced student and builds upon their previous modules in psychology.

Brief description

This module will introduce students to the issues and theories at the heart of the psychological study of human communication. We will provide overview and in depth discussion of selected topics that are both fundamental and controversial in the field. We will also cover current research methods and findings used to support theories of language development and use. Students will gain an appreciation of how studying language as a psychological science can broaden their understanding of this unique and powerful human capacity.


• Introduction: What is language? What are its components?
• Prerequisites for Language: Do animals have language?
• Prerequisites for Language: Recognizing and segmenting sounds
• Prerequisites for Language: Understanding communicative intent
• Language Development: First words and putting them together
• Language Development: Learning grammar and pragmatics
• Language Development: Is there a critical period for language learning?
• Multiple Languages: How does bilingualism (and multi-lingualism) work?
• Language Use: How fast can we talk? Planning and Processing
• Language Use: Modeling the human language user
• Language Use: Does language affect thought?
• Language Use: The social effects of language
• Language Use: Where does language live in the brain?
• Language Use: Disorders and the breakdown of language
• Beyond words: Studying conversation and figurative language

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be expected to comment on aspects of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the facilitator and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct seminar presentations and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science, PsychLit and PsychInfo).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters and developing such activities, honing the projects and seeing them through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. • Differentiation between research methodologies and when to use each one. • Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. • Appreciation of the complex interactions and diverse influences on human behaviour. • Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module


This module is at CQFW Level 6