Psych 3UU3: The Psychology of Language
Syllabus: [email protected]
--email from McMaster e-mail
Instructor: Karin Humphreys
Midterm 1: 15% Jan. 29 (Jan 8, 15, 22, include chapter 1, 2, 3, and 5, and summaries 1 and 2)
Midterm 2: 15% Feb 26 (Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 12, chapters 6, 7 and 9 and include summaries 3, 4,
Midterm 3: 15% Mar 19
Midterms: 2/4 short essay questions (5% each) (approx. 1 page); plus 5 short answer (a sentence
or two) questions, worth 1% each
Final Exam: 35%
There will be an additional 2 short essays (5% each) and 15 short answers (1% each).
Weekly reading summaries and questions: 20%
(10 weeks: 1%/summary, 1% questions)
Essays should have an organization of thought and a decent structure. You need to cite at least a
few pieces of evidence (not specific researchers, more just the points—except for the ones we do
weekly assignments on).
• For each—write a summary (1 page double spaced) for 1%
• Write down at least 3 questions you have about the article 1%
• Due in the drop box the night of lecture before 7
Tips for this Class
• Reading the textbook and taking good notes is crucial.
• You don’t need to know every study but know how evidence works in this field
o Understand the progression of thinking
• Read the whole section before notes
• Take a lot of notes—not everything is on the slides
• Read the articles critically
• What is the overall purpose of the research?
• How does it fit into the context of its field? Is it, for example, attempting to settle a
controversy? Show the validity of a new technique? Open up a new field of inquiry? • Do you agree? P.33
Exams: “Make reference to the findings of…”
• Evaluate evidence
Why is it interesting?
What role does it play in our lives?
Why should we study it?
What would be good to know?
• Language is an incredible human invention.
• Human civilization would probably be impossible without language.
o Can you imagine it without language? Would you need to show each other how to
• Language allows us to transmit information from one brain to another.
• Allows us to efficiently communicate information about things that aren’t physically
present (inc. distant, past, future, abstract things)
o Ie. Justice (language enables abstract ideas)
• Allows individuals to communicate, but also allows for the accumulation of information
over entire civilizations through time
• However, language is really hard.
How hard is speaking?
In one day, you might say about 20 000 words. You will probably choose from a voc