Psychology 3184G-001

Research in the Psychology of Language

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


This course will introduce students to the variety of research methods used in the psychological study of language. Methods used to study reading processes, speech perception and comprehension, and spoken language production will be covered.


Prerequisites: Psychology 2800E, 2810 and one of Psychology 2115A/B, 2134A/B or 2135A/B, plus registration in third or fourth year Honours Specialization in Psychology or Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.


Third or fourth year Psychology Majors and Psychology Special Students who receive 70% or higher in Psychology 2820E (or 60% or higher in Psychology 2800E and 2810), plus 60% or higher in one of Psychology 2115A/B, 2134A/B or 2135A/B also may enrol in this course.

     2 lecture hours and 2 laboratory hours, 0.5 course


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


       Instructor:   Dr. Debra Jared                                   

       Office and Phone Number:  SSC 7330  (519) 661-2111 x84631         

       Office Hours: by appointment                                




       Teaching Assistant: Alex Taikh                     



       Time and Location of Classes:   MW 10:30-12:30 in SSC 3133

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.



     The 6th edition of the APA Publication manual


Required articles will be posted on OWL



       The aim of the course is for students to gain an understanding of the research methods used in the psychological study of language, from simple observation to complex brain imaging, and of the types of questions each method can address. Students will have the opportunity to observe and participate in demonstrations of many of these methods and will design and conduct a research project in a small group.


Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Access, interpret and critically evaluate appropriate research in psychology.

Read 8 assigned journal articles and answer accompanying thought questions; discuss in class.

Participate in 3 in-class experiments, several demonstrations, and 2 research lab visits (eye tracker, ERP).

Search for and read relevant literature for group research project.


Final exam (2 new articles and questions)


Research project report (esp. Introduction)

Evaluate the appropriateness of different methodological approaches to address a specific psychological question

Group research project

Research project report

Formulate a research hypothesis to address a psychological question and design a research project to test that hypothesis.

Group research project

Research project report

Apply relevant quantitative skills to the analysis and interpretation of psychological phenomena

Excel & SPSS instruction in class.

Analyze data from 3 in-class experiments.

Analyze data from group project.

Results sections: 3 in-class experiments and group research project report

Data Analysis test

Use evidence to support claims

Instruction in writing Introduction & Discussion sections

Research project report

Apply ethical standards to the practice of their own research

Ethics instruction in class

Ethics form for group project

Communicate in writing accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of the discipline of psychology

Instruction in writing research reports

Method and Results section for 3 in-class experiments

Research project report

Communicate orally accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of the discipline of psychology

Instruction in oral presentations of an experiment

Group presentations of proposal and final project

Incorporate feedback to change performance

Written feedback given on in-class lab reports

Method and Results section for in-class experiments

Research project report

Work collaboratively with others to achieve a project goal

Group research project

Research project report



Students will complete three pre-programmed experiments and write a method and results section for each one. These reports are worth 15% of the final mark. Students will also design and carry out their own research project in a small group. An oral presentation of a research proposal is worth 5%, an ethics form is worth 5%, an oral presentation of the completed project is worth 5%, and the written report is worth 40% of the course grade. The written report is expected to be at least 2500 words in length. There will be a mid-term data analysis test worth 10%, and a final exam worth 20%. The final exam will be short-answer format.


Policy on Attendance and Late Assignments

Because of the hands-on nature of the course, students are expected to attend every class. Lab experiments can be done only in class. Students who do not complete an in-class experiment will lose half of the marks associated with the related assignment, unless a medical note is provided. Students are responsible for finding out from classmates about any missed material. Students who have more than 4 undocumented absences from class will be reported to the Dean and may be prevented from writing the final exam. Late assignments will be penalized 10% per day (including weekends) unless a medical note is provided. Medical notes in all instances are to be provided through the Academic Counselling Office and not directly to the instructor. They should clearly indicate the time period for which you are to be excused. The Academic Counselling office must be contacted immediately if you are unable to write the final exam. Permission of the instructor, department Chair, and Dean are required to obtain permission to write a make-up exam. For details on the procedures involved in documenting an absence see 9.0.


PLEASE NOTE:  Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations (, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%.

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail


Lab 1                                             Jan. 24

Lab 2                                             Jan. 31

Lab 3                                             Feb. 12

Data Analysis Test                          Feb. 14

Proposal Presentation                    March 7

Complete Project Presentation        April 11

Written Report                                April 11

Final Exam                                        April Exam period (April 14-30, 2018)


Jan. 8                 Course Introduction

Jan. 10                Overview of experimental methods

Jan. 15                Excel spreadsheet instruction

Jan. 17                Lab 1-Lexical decision

Jan. 22                Lab 1-analysis

Jan. 24                Lab 2- Priming

Jan. 29                Lab 2: analysis

Jan. 31                Group project: choose topic, initial research

Feb. 5                 Lab 3-Self-paced reading

Feb. 7                 Lab 3: analysis

Feb. 12               Consultations on projects: research question

Feb. 14               Data Analysis Test

Feb. 19 & 21       Reading Week

Feb. 26               Writing Introductions; Ethics 

Feb. 28               Consultations on projects: methodology

March 5               Eye tracking

March 7               Project proposal presentations; Eye-tracking lab visit

March 12             Consultations on projects: programming

March 14             Speech production methods

March 19             Speech perception methods

March 21             Project testing

March 26             Language development studies

March 28             Project data analysis

April 2                 ERP

April 4                 ERP lab visit

April 9                 fMRI

April 11 Project presentations


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.