PL3EL-Electrophysiology of Language

Module Provider: Clinical Language Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Psychology students taking this modules must have taken PY2RM
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mr Daniel Fryer


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module introduces students to Event Related Brain Potential recording (ERP) and their use in investigations of language processing in typical and atypical populations.


This module will provide an introduction to the basic methodology of Event Related Brain Potential recording (ERP) and survey the basic results from electroencephalographic investigations of language processing in typical and atypical populations. Students will examine contemporary research covering a range of research areas and gain familiarity with the research methods through tutorials.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of the module, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the basic steps involved in EEG/ERP recording

  2. Present the design of a standard ERP paradigm

  3. Recognise and describe the fundamental ERP components associated with language processing events

  4. Discuss processing theories associated with the time course of ERP events

  5. Critically evaluate language processing claims based on EEG/ERP observations

Students will sit a final class room test.  Students will be asked provide short essay answers to 3 out of 6 possible questions. 

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to give students awareness of contrasting research methodologies, specifically steady state versus event related phenomena, group versus single case investigations and the strengths and weaknesses of differing empirical paradigms.

Outline content:

The course will start with a basic review of the physiology of the brain and the phenomena underlying cortical activation. The basic science of electroencephalographic recording will be covered with reference to complementary methods of brain activity measurement, i.e PET, MEG, fMRI and NIRS. The contrast between EEG and ERP investigations will be discussed and basic investigative paradigms for these approaches will be presented. The concept of event related potentials will be examined in some detail including latency, amplitude and duration effects and the application of these notions to investigations of language related phenomena will be surveyed. Word and sentence level paradigms will be presented and models of language processing that take into account the temporal phenomena revealed by ERP investigations will considered. Students will also visit the ERP laboratory and view a mock recording.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures based on specified research and review papers. The lectures are interactive and students are expected, where necessary, to have read highlighted papers before the lecture so that they can contribute to the discussion and evaluation of the accounts given.  Students will also participate in a mock EEG recording.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study 84
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Class test administered by School 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Class test: This is a 2 hour test.  Students will answer 3 out of a choice of six essay-type questions.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment by August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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