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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Psychology (PSYCH)

PSYCH 426 (LING 429) Language and Thought (3) Relations between language and cognition; cognitive implications of normal and impaired language development; cognition and bilingualism.

PSYCH (LING 429) 426 Language and Thought (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Is language a special and uniquely human ability that develops and functions independently of other cognitive processes? Do individuals who speak different languages also have different concepts about the meaning of objects and ideas? Does language development depend on exposure to spoken language? In this course we will examine the relation between language and thought by considering evidence on language and cognition in both children and adults. Topics to be covered include the typical development and use of language as well as language and cognition in individuals whose language and/or cognition is impaired in some form. The latter include individuals with aphasia who have sustained brain damage following stroke or head injury, schizophrenics whose language reflects aspects of their disorder, children diagnosed with Williams Syndrome who appear to have good or even precocious language abilities in the face of severe cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's patients in whom semantic memory has begun to deteriorate. The course will also discuss the acquisition of sign language among deaf individuals and the consequences of bilingualism for children raised with two languages and for adults with proficiency in more than a single language.

The purpose of this course is to provide a survey of current scholarship on the relation of language and thought, including a review of recent developments in the primary literature. The necessary background is covered in introductory Psychology and Linguistics courses, which serve as alternative prerequisites. Students will learn about the consequences of typical and impaired development for relations between cognition and language ability. It is distinguished from PSYCH 457, Psychology of Language, by a focus on the implications of language, language development, and language impairment, for cognitive processes. It covers some topics also addressed by current courses in Linguistics and in Communications Sciences and Disorders, but is distinguished from those courses by its focus on perspectives and theories from cognitive psychology. This course may be used toward the 400-level PSY requirements of the PSYBA and PSYBS majors, and toward the PSY minor. Students typically will be assessed on the basis of class participation and discussion (20%), four papers (total 60%), and an in-class presentation based on reading original research literature (20%). The course typically will be offered once each year at the University Park campus with an enrollment limit of 50.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: PSYCH 100 orLING 001 orLING 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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