Psycholinguistics & Neurolinguistics


What is psycholinguistics

To begin, it must be clarified that psycholinguistics is actually born from two areas : psychology and linguistics; the first is dedicated to the study of the thought, emotions and behavior of the human being, and the second, studies the manifestations of language.

Then, both knowledge come together to study language in the human being. However, it is not simply the sum of the two areas. Rather, theories and approaches of both are used and new research is generated.

Psycholinguistics was born with Jacob Robert Kantor, when he coined this term in his book  An objective Psychology of Grammar . But, it began to be used frequently after the article Language and psycholinguistics: a review .

Psycholinguistics is a science that is responsible for studying how we acquire, understand, produce, and elaborate language. Also, study the conditions or losses related to language. In addition, it emphasizes the cognitive mechanisms that intervene when linguistic information is processed.

Psycholinguistics focuses on both the analysis of psychological and neurological factors that influence language. And, it is a theoretical and experimental discipline.

How does psycholinguistics differ from other branches?

Psycholinguistics differs from other branches in the way of approaching language. Let’s see how he does it:

  • Study. Study how language is used. To do this, it focuses on the use of our knowledge and the psychological processes involved.
  • Performance. It values ​​the set of procedures by which knowledge is applied to the production and understanding of linguistic expressions .
  • Acting processes It focuses on those who put the linguistic instinct into operation.

There are other branches that are dedicated to the study of language, but they do it from another perspective. For example, sociolinguistics does so by studying the relationship between sociocultural and linguistic phenomena. It also serves as an example of linguistics itself, which is dedicated to origin, evolution and language structure.

Perhaps, it tends to be more confused with linguistics and psycholinguistics. Xavier Frías Conde makes it easier for us to understand his contrasts in his article «Introduction to psycholinguistics». Suggests that they differ among other things in:

  • Understanding. The minimum acoustic unit is the phoneme for linguistics. And, for psycholinguistics, it is the syllable.
  • Production. The subject of study in linguistics is the ideal native speaker. On the other hand, for psycholinguistics it is the real speaker.
  • Object of study Regarding the use of language, linguistics seeks the most elegant, formal and abstract forms of language. And, psycholinguistics the principles of operability.

At this point you will ask yourself, how does psycholinguistics study? It does so through interventions with two approaches:

  • Observational Based on the linguistic behavior test. In addition, it is done through the collection of natural data in contextualized everyday situations.
  • Experimental. Through the scientific method, in laboratory experiments .

In addition, psycholinguistics, like most disciplines that have been born from two others, is very careful in its methodology . Therefore, experiments in this field tend to stand out for their good design and execution. Also, as science it generates new questions through the answers it finds. Thus, we speak of a very lively field.

What are the psycholinguistic skills?

It is all those we have to communicate with. Therefore, essential when interacting. Let’s see:

  • The language.
  • The thought.
  • Writing.
  • Auditory comprehension.
  • Sequential auditory memory.
  • Visual comprehension
  • Visual association .
  • Verbal expression.
  • Motor expression
  • Visual integration
  • Auditory integration
  • Sequential visomotor memory.

However, to assess these skills, psycholinguistics relies on the research paradigm of cognitive psychology , which is based on mentalist, functionalist, computational and restrictive theory.

In sum, psycholinguistics is a current science. In addition, thanks to his constant passion for research, especially in the experimental field, it will help us decipher the complexity of language in human beings . Therefore, with his advances he tells us how we produce, codify and dispose of language as an instrument of communication.

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