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Cognitive Neuroscience of Language


Admission requirements

MSc Psychology (research) 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 methods in this field.


Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (2011-2012)

Mode of instruction

  • seminar

  • discussion of papers

Assessment method

The assessment for this course is based on:

  • an oral presentation of a topic

  • a written exam

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.

  • Articles, that will be made available on Blackboard


Master’s introduction and enrolment day

Make a reservation in your agenda so you will not miss any information that you will need during your master’s programme MSc in Psychology. Please consult the Agenda master meetings

Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the (re)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, Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Wassenaarseweg 52, room 2B18
    Tel: 071 527 3636

  • Dr. Ingrid Christoffels
    Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Wassenaarseweg 52, room 2B16
    Tel: 071 527 5689