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Language and the Brain - MSc


Course Description

An understanding of neuroscience can sharpen the ability to ask questions and develop insights into the nature of language processing, acquisition, and representation. Conversely, language - from words to sentences - acts as a standard medium for neuroscience and psychology to investigate and localise the nature and time-course of neural processes.

Thus, the study of language and of the brain go hand-in-hand and each can inform the other in notable ways.

Our MSc Language and the Brain will offer you an opportunity to take full advantage of the intersecting research interests and areas of expertise within the Department of Psychology and Department of Language and Linguistics at our University. This enables you to identify generalisations about the brain that account for patterns of language use and vice versa.

Within our MSc Language and the Brain, there is an emphasis on experimental investigations: you not only learn to assess and critique existing empirical work, but how to conduct such research independently.

Our research is challenging and ground-breaking, with 90% rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), placing us in the top 15 in the UK. We are supported by some of the most prestigious funding bodies, including the European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust.

We are a warm and friendly Department, and we wish to welcome both recent graduates of psychology (or a related subject), and mature students who may wish to upgrade their qualifications, refresh their CV, or return to academic study after a period of time away from education.

Our expert staff

Our academic staff include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.

The key member of staff for this course is Dr Silke Paulmann, whose research explores the way that we communicate emotions and attitudes via speech.

More broadly, the Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.

The Social and Health Psychology Group work on motivations, needs, intercultural contact, and sexual attraction. Recent projects include the impacts of living and studying abroad, and how personal relative deprivation is linked to problem gambling.

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying language production, how motivations are communicated through tone of voice, and how the brain performs 3D vision. They previously developed the BioAid mobile phone app that turns an iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid.

Specialist facilities

We are committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus:
-Dedicated laboratories including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite
-Specialist areas for experimental psychology, visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology
-Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our Babylab
-Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) contains specialist laboratories, office space for research students, and research rooms and social spaces which foster opportunities for innovation, training, and collaboration

Our Department of Language and Linguistics also offers relevant facilities:
-Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
-Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
-Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
-Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound

Your future

With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers.

We also have excellent links with the research community; we are recognised by the ESRC as providing excellent postgraduate training and are an accredited Doctoral Training Centre, offering several studentships.

Our recent PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and international universities (in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.

Example structure

-Cognitive Neuropsychology of Language
-Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
-Research Project (MSc)
-Phonological Development
-Developmental Language Disorders
-Neurocognition of Language
-Experimental Design and Analysis
-Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (optional)
-Research Management (optional)
-Research Methods and Statistics in Cognitive Neuropsychology (optional)
-The Social Voice (Advanced)
-Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis (optional)

Visit the Language and the Brain - MSc page on the University of Essex website for more details!

Student Profiles
Scholarships

Entry Requirements

You need a first, upper second or high lower second class honour degree, or equivalent, in psychology or a related subject. We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of Essex

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