Word Recognition and Production
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-DGCN16
Credits (ECTS)6
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Cognitive Neuroscience;
prof. dr. J.M. McQueen
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.M. McQueen
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. J.M. McQueen
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. A.P.A. Roelofs
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2017
SEM1  (04/09/2017 to 04/02/2018)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-

Words are the building blocks that make it possible for us to produce and comprehend language. Students will receive an introduction to the main issues in auditory and visual word recognition and on word processing in speech production. Empirical evidence (behavioural, neuroimaging and neuropsychological data), computational models, and lexical statistics will be discussed. At the end of the course the student will be able to (1) describe key findings in the cognitive neuroscience of lexical processing, (2) evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these data, (3) evaluate current theories of lexical processing, and (4) generate ideas for new experiments to address what is not yet known about these issues.


Auditory word recognition. The mental processes which operate during the recognition of spoken words will be examined. Topics in the auditory word recognition will include: the multiple activation of lexical hypotheses and the competition between them; modulation of lexical activation by phonetic information; segmentation of continuous speech into words; and whether lexical form and meaning representations are distinct. We will also ask questions about the mapping of the speech signal onto the lexicon. Do prelexical representations mediate between the signal and the lexicon? How do listeners deal with the variability in speech? What is the nature of the information flow in the recognition system (e.g., is there feedback and/or cascade)?

Spoken word production. Spoken word production involves the cognitive processes underlying the generation of spoken words, ranging from intention to articulation. Models of spoken word production often divide the word generation process into conceptualizing, lemma retrieval, word-form encoding, and articulation, with word-form encoding further divided into morphological encoding, phonological encoding, and phonetic encoding. Moreover, models assume a process of self-monitoring, which serves to ensure that word planning and articulation are consistent with intent. In the production lectures we will discuss evidence on these processes from response time, error, eyetracking, electrophysiological, neuropsychological, functional neuroimaging, tractographic, and computational modeling studies.

Visual word recognition . How do we recognise words during reading? In student-led seminars we will first discuss prelexical issues (e.g., early stages of visual processing, the role of eye movements in reading, the nature of access representations). We will then discuss lexical issues (e.g., how word recognition is influenced by word frequency and the lexical neighborhood of words, the segmentation of morphologically complex words). We will ask whether current computational models of reading can capture the complexity of the data.

The mental lexicon. During the course we will also explore the relationships among spoken word production, auditory word recognition and visual word recognition. We will consider (a) the issues that recur whenever lexical processing is examined (e.g., the time course of processing, the role of frequency, the balance between storage and computation, and the role of context); and (b) the ways in which differences in the nature of the tasks involved in speaking words, listening to them, and reading them impose different constraints on the mental processes underlying those three abilities. One seminar in the first week of the course with both lecturers will introduce these questions and hence the course as a whole. We will return to these questions as the course progresses, in particular during the student-led seminars on visual word recognition and in a final student-led discussion at the end of the course.


Additional comments
COURSE: September 6, 2017 – January 10, 2018; Wednesday 10.45-12.30
LOCATION: t.b.a.

Test information
TYPE OF EXAM: take home exam
NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. If you don't want to do the first exam you have to deregister for the exam in OSIRIS, but do not forget to sign up for the retake in OSIRIS.Via STUDENT PORTAL until 5 working days before the start of the course.
This course is for CNS students only. Non-CNS students can contact Ellen Janssen ( or Arno Koning (

Contact information
Prof. dr. J. McQueen

Required materials
Required reading for introductory seminar: Kemmerer, D. (2015). Speech perception. In D. Kemmerer,Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (pp. 109-144, pp. 145-188, pp. 215-245). New York: Psychology Press.
- Lecture and seminar notes - Syllabus: (a) Introductory/general reading e.g. from handbooks; (b) Focussed reading of journal articles; (c) Three articles required for the introductory seminar. - Suggestions for further reading

Recommended materials
Dehaene, S. & Cohen, L. (2011). The unique role of the visual word form area in reading. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 254-262.
Grainger, J., & Ziegler, J.C. (2011). A dual-route approach to orthographic processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 54.
Hickok, G. (2012). Computational neuroanatomy of speech production. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13, 135-145.
Hickok, G. & Poeppel, D. (2007). The cortical organization of speech processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8, 393-402.
Levelt, W. J. M. (2001). Spoken word production: A theory of lexical access. PNAS, 98, 13464-13471.
McQueen, J.M. (2005). Speech perception. In K. Lamberts & R. Goldstone (Eds.), The handbook of cognition (pp. 255-275). London: Sage Publications.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Teacher-led lectures (including discussion of lecture materials and of set texts) and student-led seminars.

Attendance MandatoryYes

Student-led seminars

Take-home exam
Test weight1
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM1