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Cognitive Neuroscience of Language


Admission requirements

Research master students


This course is intended to review and discuss state-of-the-art developments in the cognitive neuroscience of human language processing. Topics include the representations and structures of language, as well as the cognitive architectures which underlie speaking, listening, reading and writing. In addition, the existing brain imaging literature on word and sentence processing will be critically reviewed, as well as contributions from research on brain lesions. Finally, we discuss the prospects and problems of brain imaging techniques for the study of language.

On the basis of further reading assignments, each student will orally present a topic and stimulate, lead and organize further discussion in the group.

Course objectives

Students acquire in-depth knowledge of the results of behavioural and neuroscientific research on language processing and critically reflect on the use of brain-imaging mehods in this field.


Please contact the teacher for more information.

Mode of instruction

  • seminar

  • discussion of papers

Assessment method

  • oral presentation of a topic (20%)

  • written exam (80%)

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

Trevor Harley. (2008). The Psychology of Language. From Data to Theory, 3rd edition. Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis.


Introduction and enrolment for courses of the first semester will take place in August 2010. Introduction and enrolment for courses of the second semester will take place in January 2011. More information will be available at the website of the Institute of Psychology.

NB: Exam registration will take place via uSis, and will be open between a month and a week before the (re)exam. Students who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the exam.

Contact information

Prof. dr. N.O. Schiller
Room: 2A47
Tel: +31 (0)71 527 5686



  • Prof. dr. Niels O. Schiller
    Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition
    Van Wijkplaats 4 (building 1166), room 104c
    Tel: 071 527 4171

  • Dr. Wido La Heij
    Cognitive Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Wassenaarseweg 52, Pieter de la Court building, room 2B18
    Tel: 071 527 3636

  • Dr. Ingrid Christoffels
    Cognitive Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Wassenaarseweg 52, Pieter de la Court building, room 2B16
    Tel: 071 527 5689