Montana State University
College of Letters & Science > Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience > Courses > UH 494R: Language and the Brain (Neurolinguistics)

Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173148
Bozeman, MT 59717-3148

Tel: (406) 994-5120
Fax: (406) 994-7077
Location: 510 Leon Johnson Hall

Department Chair

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.



University Honors 494R: Language and the Brain (Neurolinguistics)


Spring 2013, M W 1:10 – 3:00 pm


Jerome Coffey
CCB (Lewis Hall Basement)

John Miller
CCB (Lewis Hall Basement)   

Required Texts:

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
The First Word by Christine Kenneally
Additional materials will be posted on D2L

Study Topic and Readings

Definition of the big questions, strategies for addressing those questions; course goals and logistics. Example subjects and formats for individual/group projects.
Structure of languages; theories of language: J. Coffey The First Word Chaps. 1-4
Structure and function of the brain: Text chapters (See D2L), Perceptual Pleasure and the Brain (Biederman and Vessel)
Auditory psychophysics, auditory illusions, visual hallucinations and "neuroesthetics".
Verbal and non-verbal communication, bilingualism, critical age theory
Pinker's 3,4,5,6
Language in the brain: where is it, and how does it work? Pinker #10, Kenneally #10, articles in D2L
Discuss Project format and possible topics, MIDTERM
Lecture by Jim Rimpau: Chimp communication
Origin and evolution of language The First Word Chaps. 5-7
Art as a form of creative expression
Project proposals due, The First Word Chaps. 8-10
Origin and evolution of language The First Word Chaps. 11-13
First Word Chap. 14, Lecture by Jack Fisher: evolution of human cognition
Discuss Jack's lecture, plus The First Word Chap. 15
Discussion of Project Report formats
Work on projects
Student research presentations
Lecture by Sara Waller: Dolphin Language and animal communication

The grade for this course will be determined as follows:
15%: Class attendance and participation in discussions
20%: Midterm 
5%: Project proposal 
20%: Final presentation 
40%: Final paper

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