8:55-10:10 Tuesday, Thursday
Science Hall 283
Instructor: Peter W. Foltz
Office: Science Hall 328
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday 9:30-10:30, or by appointment
Each day, we use language in many ways. We comprehend and produce speech, we write and read text, and we learn new words as well as learn new languages. This course will address a variety questions that address aspects of the processes we use to create and comprehend language. These questions include: How do we produce and recognize speech? How do we perceive words and letters? How do we learn and recall information from texts? How can we improve texts to make them easier to read? How do children learn languages? How does the brain function to process language?
The course is designed as an advanced undergraduate/graduate seminar. It will cover some areas of language processing in general, while other areas of lanaguage processing will be covered in depth.
Required Text and readings
T. A. Harley, (1995) The Psychology of Language: From Data to Theory. Erlbaum (UK) Taylor & Francis.
In addition to the text, each week there will be assigned readings from a variety of books, journals, and magazines. These readings will be available for photocopying in the main office of the psychology department.
Course Web page: If you are a user of the World Wide Web, the course web page is at:
This web page contains a copy of the syllabus, information about the class, grades, answers to questions from class, and links to other pages with information about the psychology language. It will be updated thoughout the semester.
Prerequisites: Psy 201 (Introduction to Psychology), Ling 201 (Introduction to Language)or consent of instructor. This course is an advanced undergraduate and graduate course. It is also strongly advised that undergraduates have a background or have taken courses in experimental design and statistics and have taken other psychology courses, such as cognitive psychology.
There will be two exams. The exams will be take-home exams comprising several essays. You will have one week to complete each exam.
Final Paper/Project Proposal:
A final paper or project is due in this class. All papers must be typed.
Undergraduates may do a paper in which they analyze one particular aspect of language. The paper must cite a minimum of 8 research articles that investigate that aspect. Undergraduates may also write a project proposal described below (although they do not need to run the pilot study).
Graduate students must write a project proposal with a pilot study. The proposal must address some experimental and theoretical issue on the psychology of language. This proposal should be a standard APA proposal with an introduction, method, and discussion sections. In addition, some pilot subjects should be run and ther results should be described.
All students must submit a 1-2 page proposal by March 27th describing their topic. They will then get feedback and suggestions from the professor on their topic. All students will also make a presentation on their paper or project at the end of the semester. Undergraduate presentations are expected to be 5 minutes in length. Graduate presentations are expected to be 10-15 minutes in length.
This course is designed to be a discussion course. Thus, all students will be expected to have read the required readings and be ready to discuss them in class. There will also be various experiments and demonstrations performed in class and you are expected to participate in them as well.
Attendance will not be taken in this class, except for in the first few weeks for paperwork purposes. However, your participation will be noted during the class discussions, experiments, and demonstrations.
Graduate students are expected to make one paper presentation. In their presentation, they will be responsible for summarizing the important points of the paper and then leading the class discussion on a particular paper or topic.
Determining your final grade:
Your final grade will be a weighted average of:
Contacting the professor:
I can usually be reached at my office phone (646-1980) and I check my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) regularly. If you can't make it to the scheduled office hours, please contact me and I'll be happy to set up an appointment for another time. Some of these papers will be difficult. If you are having trouble understanding something, please feel free to come see me. I am more than happy to help you work through something that is dififcult.
Withdrawals: To withdraw from this class, you must complete and turn in a signed withdrawal form. The last day to drop with a "W" is March 10th.
1. The schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.
2. Make-ups will not typically be permitted for exams. Exceptions will be granted with a note from the health center or your private doctor, or for other extenuating circumstances.
3. If a student is caught cheating, the policies described in the New Mexico State University Handbook will apply. Penalties could range from earning no points for the work to expulsion from the university. Academic misconduct results in a grade of F for the class.
4. If you have, or think you may have, a disability that interferes with your performance as a student in this class, you are encouraged for academic reasons to discuss this on a confidential basis with your instructor, the Disabled Student Programs Coordinator (Mary Thumann) at 646-1921, and/or the American With Disabilities Act Coordinator (Elena Linthicum) at 646-7795.