In this course you will learn about social cognition—the part of psychology that deals with how individuals understand and make sense of the social world. You will learn about research that allows you to better understand how people think about and act upon their social environment and the people who inhabit it. On the one hand, social cognition is a theoretical, fundamental part of psychology. It can give us answers about such fundamental questions as: how do people form opinions? Or: why do people sometimes do good things, and sometimes they behave unfairly or in a morally questionable way? On the other hand, social cognition is also a practical part of psychology because it allows you to make sense of social phenomena, which can in turn be applied to areas such as consumer decisions.
The aims of the course are to help you gain knowledge and understanding about theoretical and empirical perspectives on social cognition, and to practice making judgments about the scientific literature we address. Specifically, on successful completion of this course, you will be able to
- explain key ways through which social settings influence cognitive functioning and overt behavior,
- explain the key theoretical concepts applied to explain of classical effects found in the social cognition literature,
- explain the design of classical studies in social cognition,
- interpret the results of classical studies in social cognition,
- compare the results of classical, more recent and replication studies in social cognition,
- illustrate selected cognitive and behavioral findings from the social cognition literature,
- plan your future approach to studying established scientific literature on social cognition while integrating state-of-the-art findings.
The course consists of a series of 14 lectures and 5 workgroup meetings. In the last lecture, we will revise and review the contents of the class in a student science slam to prepare for the exam and create lasting memories of the contents.
Attendance and participation in lectures and workgroups is recommended but not compulsory.
The final grade is determined via the final exam. This exam makes up 100% of the course grade. You have to score at least 5.5 overall to pass the course. There will be both multiple choice questions and open questions.
In the final exam, the multiple choice section will contribute 80% to the final grade, and the open questions section 20%. For the final exam, the contents of the lectures and the workgroups are relevant.
- History & Concepts
- Heuristics & Biases
- Biases in Deliberate Decisions
- Affect, Mood & Emotions
- Social Comparison
- Application: Consumer Behavior
- Approach & Avoidance
Literature for lectures and work groups will be announced in the first meeting.