Instructor: Dr. Kathryn Schuler, 3401-C Walnut Street, Office 314

Time and place: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 pm, Linguistics Department Conference Room


Course description

This course in an upper level undergraduate/graduate seminar in neurolinguistics. We will explore language in the brain through readings and discussions.


All students - including those auditing - are expected to do the readings and play an active role in class discussion. In each class, one student will be the primary reader and one the secondary reader of the assigned paper.  The primary reader summarizes the reading (via a chalk talk, handout, or slides), leads the discussion, and is primarily responsible for the assigned material. The secondary reader will also contribute heavily to discussion and should be prepared to step in if the primary reader is absent or unprepared.  

If you are taking the class for credit, you'll also be required to write two research analysis papers and post them on our class blog.


50% Participation in class discussion: Primary and secondary readers should come to class prepared for that role. All others should do the reading and participate in class discussion.

50% Papers: You'll write two research analysis papers, each summarizing an article (of your choice) on language and the brain. These posts will be Nature News & Views style articles and posted on our blog:


Dates subject to change. Parenthesis after paper indicate (Primary, Secondary) reader.

Week Dates Topic Readings & Deadlines
1 Aug 27 & 29 Overview R: Amaral & Strick 2013 (Katie, None) & von Melchner et al. 2000 (in class)
2 Sep 3 & 5 Neurons & Methods
3 Sep 10 & 12 Language Network T: Catani, Jones, & Ffytche 2005 (Nora, Abby)
R: Friederici & Gierhan 2013 (Katie, None) & Fedorenko & Thompson-Schill 2014 (Harry, Jordan)
4 Sep 17 & 19 Perspective T: Krakauer et al. 2017 (Aja, Stefan)
R: Poeppel & Embick 2017 (Jordan, Hansoo)

Select article for paper 1 by Sep 20
5 Sep 24 & 26 Sounds & phonemes T: Scott et al. 2000 (Abby, Nora)
R: Werker & Tees 1984(Harry, Yiran) & Nishimura et al 1999 (Darlene, Jordan)
6 Oct 1 & 3 Words T: Davis & Gaskell 2009 (Harry, Aja)
R: Quiroga et al. 2005 (Stefan, Jordan)
7 Oct 8 Syntax I T: Fitch & Martins 2014 (Yiran, Hansoo)

Paper 1 due Oct 9 at midnight
8 Oct 15 & 17 Syntax II T: Kaan & Swaab 2002 (Hansoo, Darlene) & Makuuchi et al. 2009 (Stefan, Harry)
R: Ding et al. 2016 (Jordan, Abby)
9 Oct 22 & 24 Semantics T: Lau et al. 2008 (Hansoo, Nora)
R: Friedrich & Friederici 2005 (Yiran, Aja)
10 Oct 29 & 31 Acquisition T: Lenneberg 1969 (Abby, Stefan)
R: Leroy et al. 2011 (Jordan, Darlene) & Perani et al. 2011 (Aja, Harry)
11 Nov 5 & 7 Sign Language T: Petitto & Marentette 1991 (Darlene, Stefan) & Petitto et al 2000 (Nora, Hansoo)
R: Mayberry et al. 2011 (Yiran, Abby)
12 Nov 12 & 14 Bilingualism T: Weber-Fox & Neville 1996 (Aja, Darlene)
R: TBD (Abby, Harry)

Select article for paper 2 by Nov 15
13 Nov 19 & 21 Evolution T: Riling et al. 2008 (Stefan, Nora)
R: Wilson et al. 2017 (Hansoo, Yiran)
14 Nov 26 No Class
15 Dec 3 & 5 Cerebellum T: Marien et al. 2014 (Darlene, Aja) & Lesage et al. 2012 (Nora, Yiran)
R: Poster session at 10:30am
Paper 2 due Dec 19 at midnight


What if I miss a class when I'm primary or secondary reader? You'll be invited to submit a brief News & Views article about the assigned paper to make up for your absence.

What if my paper is late? Late papers will be accepted with a 20% penalty each day.

What if I find a typo in my published paper after the deadline? Go ahead and fix it! Improving things is never a bad idea.

Do I have to make a handout if I'm primary reader? Nope. You should summarize the paper and lead discussion however you feel most comfortable: chalk talk, make a handout, do a slide-show, etc. The method of delivery is not more important than your content.

Can primary and secondary reader work together? Sure, that sounds nice. It's not required, and primary reader should take the leadership role, but collaboration usually produces better results with less effort.

What if I don't know anything about neuroscience? You'll be in good company! Don't worry, you'll be able to do this.