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Language disorders: Aphasia and Dementias

General details of the subject

Face-to-face degree course

Description and contextualization of the subject

Neuropsychological assessment; Production deficits; Agrammatism; Comprehension deficits, Single case studies vs. group studies; Language deficits in dementia

Teaching staff

NameInstitutionCategoryDoctorTeaching profileAreaE-mail
LABAYRU ISUSQUIZA, GARAZIUniversity of the Basque CountryProfesorado Adjunto (Ayudante Doctor/A)DoctorBilingualPsychological Personality, Assessment and


CE1. Advanced knowledge of aphasia and dementia25.0 %
CE2. Main research techniques in the neuroscientific study of afasias y las demencias.25.0 %
CE3. Applying knowledge creatively to identify research questions and plan experimental designs for topics discussed during the course25.0 %
CE4. Identifuing systems and processes in aphasia and dementia.25.0 %

Study types

TypeFace-to-face hoursNon face-to-face hoursTotal hours
Applied classroom-based groups101020
Applied computer-based groups102535

Assessment systems

NameMinimum weightingMaximum weighting
Written examination (theory)100.0 % 100.0 %


PART 1:How can language processes be affected by neurological impairments? What can we learn from the study and the systematic analysis of brain-damaged patients and neurological patients with dementia? Why are cross-linguistic studies of language disorders crucial for the development of neurocognitive sciences?

This course aims to address these issues by first giving an overview of the classic neuropsychological approach to assess and investigate acquired language deficits. We will study neurological patients with deficits selectively affecting a given language function (e.g., oral naming or reading, semantic or grammatical processing). The systematic analyses of language deficits can be used to constrain models of language processing and to develop theories about the functional architecture of language mechanisms in the brain.

PART 2. Cognitive examination of language

This part of the course will introduce students to the study of linguistic behavior and its neuro-anatomical representation from the perspective of brain damage and how this affect grammatical, semantic and discourse processing These phenomena will be related to three broad topics in cognitive neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience of language: bilingualism (e.g. foreign accent syndrome, bilingual aphasia ), grammatical knowledge (e.g. grammatical category-specific deficits, verb vs. noun distinction in the brain), and semantic knowledge (e.g. semantic category-specific deficits). The objective of this block is that students acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to explain to non-scientific audiences what these phenomena are and what they tell us about how the brain represents and organizes different linguistic information.


Compulsory materials

Each class will have assigned readings (primarily textbook chapters and articles from scientific journals). You are expected to come to class having read the chapters/articles assigned for class.

Basic bibliography

Coltearth, M. (2001). Assumptions and methods in cognitive neuropsychology. In B. Rapp (Ed.), Cognitive neuropsychology, Psychology Press.

McCloskey, M. (2001). The future of cognitive neuropsychology. In B. Rapp (Ed.), Cognitive neuropsychology, Psychology Press.

Dell, G. S. (1990). Effects of frequency and vocabulary type on phonological speech errors. Language and Cognitive Processes, 5, 313-349.

Rapp, B., & Goldrick, M. (2000). Discreteness and interactivity in spoken word production. Psychological Review, 107, 460-499.

Posner, M. I., & Raichle, M. E. (1994). Images of mind. Scientific American Library. Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

Indefrey, P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2000). The neural correlates of language production. In M. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The new cognitive neurosciences. MIT Press.

Caplan, D. (1999). Language: structure, processing and disorders. MIT Press.

Caramazza, A. (1997). Cognitive Neuropsychology, 14, 177-208.

Levelt, W.J.M. (1989). Speaking: From intention to articulation. MIT Press.

Rapp (Ed.), Cognitive neuropsychology, Psychology Press.

Levelt, W. J. M., Roelofs, A., & Meyer, A. S. (1999). A theory of lexical access in speech production. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 1-75.

Levelt, W. J. M. (1999). Models of word production. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3, 223-232.

Pinker, S. (1999). Words and Rules. The ingredients of language. Basic Books.

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