Psycholinguistics (field) the scientific study of the relationship between human behavior and language

Psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary sub-field of study within Linguistics that concerns the scientific study of the relationship between human behavior and language. It belongs to the broader branch of science called Integrated Science. As an interdisciplinary field of study, its constituent disciplines include Linguistics, Psychology, and perhaps others. This term belongs mainly to the broader category called Language.

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Constituent fields of Psycholinguistics

  • Linguistics (field) the scientific study of language
  • Psychology (field) the scientific study of human and non-human behavior

Fields derived from Psycholinguistics

  • Neurolinguistics (interdisciplinary sub-field) the scientific study of the relationship between brain processes and language

Definition of Psycholinguistics

Source: A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics

1 "psycholinguistics" n.

A branch of linguistics which studies the correlation between linguistic behaviour and the psychological processes thought to underlie that behaviour. There are two possible directions of study. One may use language as a means of elucidating psychological theories and processes (e.g. the role of language as it affects memory, perception, attention, learning, etc.), and for this the term psychological linguistics is sometimes used. Alternatively, one may investigate the effects of psychological constraints on the use of language (e.g. how memory limitations affect speech production and comprehension). It is the latter which has provided the main focus of interest in linguistics, where the subject is basically seen as the study of the mental processes underlying the planning, production, perception and comprehension of speech, and investigations typically proceed by examining linguistic performance through smallscale experimental tasks. A theory-driven approach is also encountered, in which evidence to support a point of linguistic theory (often in relation to generative grammar) accumulates using such techniques as adult grammaticality judgements. The subject now includes a large number of research domains, notably child language acquisition, second language acquisition, language processing, linguistic complexity, the relationship between linguistic and cognitive universals, the study of reading, language pathology, and species specificity. See also developmental linguistics.

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Definition of 'Psycholinguistics'

Terms related to Psycholinguistics



PsychLing Contributors. "Psycholinguistics." PsychLing, OMNIKA Foundation, 7 Sep. 2023, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.


PsychLing (2023, September 7). Psycholinguistics. Retrieved from

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PsychLing Contributors. "Psycholinguistics." Las Vegas, NV: OMNIKA Foundation. Created September 7, 2023. Modified September 16, 2023. Accessed July 21, 2024.


APA Dictionary

APA Contributors. "APA Dictionary of Psychology." Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Accessed September 14, 2023. [Visit]


Crystal, David, ed. A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 6ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2011.


Internet Archive Contributors. "Wayback Machine." San Francisco, CA: Internet Archive. Created October 24, 2001. Accessed July 21, 2023. [Visit]

AA 86(1)

Kay, Paul, and Willett Kempton. "What is the Sapir‐Whorf Hypothesis?." American Anthropologist 86, no. 1 (March 1984): 65–79.

PsychLing Glossary

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PsychLing Glossary

Browse 55 psycholinguistic glossary terms and definitions organized in the Language category.

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PsychLing Glossary

Linguistics is a field of study that concerns the scientific study of language.

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Psychology is a field of study that concerns the scientific study of human and non-human behavior.

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