Michele Miozzo's Courses


Psychology and Neuropsychology of Language - W3475, G4470
(Fall 2004)

In order to produce a sentence, speakers have to formulate a representation of the message they want to express, retrieve the meaning, syntactic properties and sound of the words, plan the sentence structure, order the words according to specific rules and finally, activate motor plans for articulation. This course reviews the current theories that describe the various processes underlying language production. These theories are traditionally based on the analyses of naming latencies and speech errors, and on the outcomes of computer simulations. This course also examines the pattern of performance of brain-damaged patients with selective deficits in language production. The importance of the latter types of data is twofold: they provide the empirical evidence needed to formulate hypotheses about the organization of processes for language production in the brain and in several cases they challenge dominant psycholinguistic theories.


Language and the Brain - W 2440
(Spring 2005)

The course addresses two issues: (a) the psychological processes that underlie the comprehension and production of words and sentences, reading and writing; and (b) the organization of these processes in the brain. The course reviews the experimental approaches adopted in psycholinguistics to investigate various linguistic tasks and the experimental findings that are at the basis of current models of language processing. The performance of brain-damaged patients with deficits selectively affecting a given language function (e.g., oral naming or reading) are also considered. The analyses of these deficits can be used to constrain models of language processing and to develop theories about the functional architecture of language mechanisms in the brain. To determine the brain regions related to language and meaning, some recent investigations make use of neuroimaging techniques such as positron emission tomography, functional magnetic imaging and event-related potential. The relevance of neuroimaging data for psychological and neurological theories of language processing is discussed. The course also surveys topics related to language acquisition, reading deficits (dyslexias), writing deficits (agraphias) and bilingualism.


Mind, Brain & Space - PHIL-PSYC G4485
(Fall 2004 - with Prof. Achille Varzi, Dept. of Philosophy, Columbia U.)

There are brain-damaged patients who systematically exchange the left and right parts of the objects with which they interact. Other patients can see only one half of an object, or can eat only from one half of the plate. Neuroscientists believe that such cases can help us understand how the brain represents the space in which we live and move and in which we locate objects and events. Philosophers view the representation of space as a privileged entry point into the study of the external world. The aim of this seminar is to bring together these neuroscientific and philosophical perspectives in a joint effort to better understand the two sides of space: its inner representation in the brain and its outer realization in the objects around us.