Language and Communication

Language, and communication more generally, shapes who we are and allows us to convey our thoughts, feelings, and knowledge. In short, language and communication shape our humanity. It is impossible to imagine a world where no communication exists. Given its profound impact on all aspects of life, language and communication is an integral part of psychology. The topic of language and communication can be studied from many different angles, and this module will integrate insights from cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, psycholinguistics, and social psychology. While the focus is on human communication, we will also examine to what degree this is species-specific. Since language can take many different forms, we will discuss different modes of communication, e.g. aural (speech), visual (reading), visual-manual (sign language), as well as communication beyond language (gestures). In addition, we will examine how language and communication develops through the lifespan, how it is supported by the brain, and what happens when we acquire a different form of communication (e.g. when learning a second language).

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of language in terms of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
  • Evaluate theories and evidence on the processes of speaking, reading, and other forms of communication.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how language and other types of communication develop over time.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the neurological basis of language.
  • Demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast different forms of communication.
  • Extract, and explain, the main findings of assigned research articles and reviews.