Experimental Approaches to Language and Cognition

The central aim of the module is to introduce students to modern experimental methods of measuring the ubiquitous relationship between language and cognition, which is a basic theoretical tenet of Cognitive Linguistics.  In particular, it will begin by presenting language acquisition as a general learning process, and looking at interactions between linguistic and social-cognitive development in children.  It will then explore the growing body of experimental research that investigates how an individual’s linguistic and cultural background informs their view of the world, and impacts on their thinking processes in adulthood (also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis).  Hereafter, a central concern of the module will be the cognitive mechanisms by which languages are learned and processed, examining the role of individual differences, frequency of input, and memory and attention, with particular focus on artificial grammar learning, and second language acquisition and use.