Our aim is to introduce you to theoretical and empirical perspectives on two central, interrelated properties of language processing: (1) language comprehension involves the processing of information transmitted via specific, bandwidth-limited communication channels, and (2) language comprehension is usually intertwined with emotional states, inevitably resulting from language-driven information processing, and often also influencing the processing itself. You will explore the main tenets of formal information theory and its application to psycholinguistics, modern thinking about emotion and its relevance to language research, and studies combining information-theoretic and emotion-related perspectives. After the course, you should have a firm grasp of how to apply formal information theory and emotion research perspectives to language processing research, as well as a richer understanding of how the use of language, a uniquely human cognitive system, helps to realize our sociality.
Language is a uniquely human capacity. Communication is not. All animals communicate but only humans use language for this purpose. The linguistic communication channel of Homo Sapiens is extremely interesting, as it pairs theoretically indefinite expressivity with a fairly narrow bandwidth. In part 1 of the course, we introduce a formal theory of information and explore to what extent information-theoretical concepts can be applied to language. We will discuss what information, in its technical sense, means, how it can be quantified, and what effect the amount of information has on language processing (e.g., on lexical retrieval, sentence processing, and language acquisition). In part 2, we examine new ways of thinking about what all that sophisticated language-driven information processing brings about. The starting point here is that, in spite of having the expressive special power of language at their disposal, humans also happen to be animals with things at stake, and as such biologically predisposed to have 'affective' or 'emotional' responses to aspects of their environment (including, above all, people, and what they say). To understand how language-driven information processing interleaves with emotional responding, students will be familiarized with current thinking about emotion and its interface to language, as well as to empirical research in several arenas of emotionally rich language use (e.g., gossip, narrative, swear words). In the final week, we explore research that integrates information-theoretic and emotion-relevant perspectives, e.g., on the use of language in special registers such as newspaper headlines and diaries.|
Although the course is designed for RMA Linguistics students, we also welcome other RMA students with an interest in language processing, communication, information theory, and/or the role of emotion in cognition. If in doubt about the fit between you and this course, please contact the course coordinator for more information.
Priority rules apply to this course. Make sure you register for this course before 14 June 12.00 (noon) 2021 to be considered for enrolment.
|Je moet voldoen aan de volgende eisen|
- Alle onderstaande cursussen zijn behaald
- Mastercursussen Geesteswetenschappen (200501100)
Bronnen van zelfstudie
|None -- although knowledge of language processing and/or cognition would certainly be helpful (e.g. acquired in Foundations of language, brain and cognition), we think that being genuinely interested, and able to think at the RMA-level, is sufficient.|
|Any introductory text book on cogntive science.||Verplicht materiaal|
|Published articles and book chapters.|
|Additional literature can be recommended to students depending on their research interests.|
AlgemeenWe will meet for discussion on one or two topics once a week. Discussions can be initiated by the tutors as well as by the students.
Voorbereiding bijeenkomstenWe expect you to be prepared 100%, i.e., to've read and thought about all reading material, to've completed all assignments (if any), and to always come to class with questions, observations and discussion points of your own.