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LINGUIST 2PS3 Psycholinguistics

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Anderson


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 503

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26241


Office Hours: Monday 2:30-4:00

Course Objectives:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the elements of the principal theories of language comprehension
  • evaluate the key research findings that inform these theories
  • consider methods for asking research questions about language comprehension
  • interpret experimental data to answer research questions about language comprehension
  • communicate scientific findings to a variety of audiences

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • iClicker response device
  • Sedivy, Julie. (2014). Language in Mind: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics.  Sinauer Associates
    ISBN 978-0-87893-598-7 (This textbook is also used for Ling 3C03 Child Language Acquisition.)

Method of Assessment:

Participation in class using iClicker 8% If you click a response to 80% of clicker questions you receive 8/8.  If you respond to fewer than 80% of clicker questions your clicker score is pro-rated accordingly.
Two team assignments 14% Completed during class throughout Week 3 and Week 8.  Exact dates will be confirmed by the end of Week 1.
Two individual assignments 14% Drafted in class and submitted on-line, during Week 4 and Week 10. Exact dates will be confirmed by the end of Week 1.
One midterm test 16% 45 minutes, written in class on Tuesday, Feb 9.
Science Stories Project 18% Submitted on-line on March 31.
Final Exam 30% Scheduled by the Registrar during the Final Exam Period. The final exam includes material from the entire semester.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Team Assignments:  If you are absent on the days of a team assignment and you submit an MSAF or other approved document (via the office of the Dean of your faculty), the weight of that assignment is transferred to your final exam.  Without an MSAF or a note from your Dean's office, you earn 0 for that team assignment.  

Individual Assignments:  If you submit an individual assignment or project within 48 hours of the due date, the assignment is penalized 25%.  Within 96 hours of the due date, the penalty is 50%.  Assignments and projects are not accepted thereafter.  If you submit an MSAF or other approved document, contact Dr. Anderson to arrange a revised due date.

Excused Tests: Tests for which the instructor receives an MSAF or other approved document have their value added to the value of the final exam.

Clicker Points:  MSAFs and medical notes are not accepted for clicker points.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

These dates are an estimate. Any changes that arise will be announced in class.

Weeks 1 & 2 Introduction, Language & Brain, the Science of Language Chapter 1; Sections 2.1, 3.2-3.4
Weeks 3 - 5 The Nature of Speech, Modularity in Speech Perception Section 4.3, 
Weeks 6 & 7 The Role of Experience in Speech Perception Sections 7.3 & 7.4
Weeks 8 & 9 Auditory and Visual Word Recognition Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.5
Weeks 10 - 12 Sentence Processing Chapter 8

Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using Avenue. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.