Social Cognition

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
PSYC 3361
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course will provide an overview of the field of social cognition. The focus of the course will be how people interpret, analyze, and remember information about themselves, others, and the social world around them. Topics include concept and schema formation, heuristics and biases, probabilistic reasoning, causal inference, the architecture of memory, automaticity, and trait inference. Such processes are used to understand self-perception, emotions, goal-directed behaviour, impression formation, attitudes and persuasion, stereotyping and prejudice, and cultural differences.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to Social Cognition
  • What is social cognition?
  • Theoretical frameworks
  • Basic Concepts in Social Cognition
    • Automatic and controlled processes
    • Attention and encoding
    • Social cognition represented in memory processes
  • Self and Identity
    • What is "the self"?
  • Attribution Processes
    • Theories of attribution
  • Heuristics and Decision Making
  • Accuracy and Efficiency in Social Inference
  • Attitudes and Persuasion
    • Origin and nature of attitudes
    • Cognitive processing of attitude
  • Stereotypes and Prejudice
    • Cognition and bias
  • Affect and Behaviour
    • The influence of affect on social cognition
    • The influence of cognition on affect
  • Social Cognition and Culture
    • Variations in social cognition from a multicultural perspective


    Learning Activities

    This course will involve a number of instructional methods, such as the following:

    • lectures
    • small group activities
    • discussion groups
    • guest lectures
    • multimedia presentations
    Means of Assessment

    The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department Policy. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

    An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

    Two midterm exams at 25% each - 50%

    Final exam - 25%

    APA style application paper - 20%

    Attendance and participation - 5%

    Total - 100%

    Learning Outcomes

    At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

    1. Define social cognition, and give examples of different kinds of phenomena that social cognition researchers study.
    2. Identify and describe research methods used to study social cognition.
    3. Read research articles critically.
    4. Evaluate the importance of situations on human behaviour and mental processes.
    5. Describe how our knowledge about the world is represented in the form of concepts or schemas.
    6. Explain the consequences of biases and heuristics in thinking.
    7. Explain theories of causal attribution and attribution biases.
    8. Identify memory systems and explain memory construction.
    9. Describe how motivations and emotions affect cognition.
    10. Describe theoretical perspectives of attitudes and how attitudes relate to behaviours.
    11. Compare and contrast automatic and controlled information processing.
    12. Identify stereotypes as concepts and explain stereotype activation and application.
    13. Identify the various components and functions of the self.
    14. Describe how cultural identity affects social cognition.
    15. Apply principles of social cognition to real-world events.
    16. Demonstrate ability to use APA style in written communication.
    Textbook Materials

    Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

    • Fiske, S.T. & Taylor, S.E. Social cognition: From brains to culture (current edition). London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.
    • Greifeneder, R., Bless, H., & Fiedler, K. Social cognition (current edition). New York, NY: Routledge




    Minimum of 45 credits completed, including PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1200


    Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

    • No corequisite courses


    Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

    • No equivalency courses

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for PSYC 3361
    Langara College (LANG) LANG PSYC 2XXX (3)
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PSYC 260 (3)
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU PSYC 3XXX (3)
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU PSYC 3XXX (3)
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PSYC 3XX (3)
    University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO PSYO 2nd (3)
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC PSYC 3XX (3)
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PSYC 491 (3)
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PSYC 2XX (1.5)
    Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU PSYC 2nd (3)

    Course Offerings

    Summer 2023