This course will involve a number of instructional methods, such as the following:
- small group activities
- discussion groups
- video tapes
- guest lectures
- Introduction to Social Cognition
- What is social cognition?
- Distinction between external reality and perceptions of reality
- Factors that influence social perception
- What are concepts?
- Functions of concepts
- Concept activation
- Structure of concepts
- Organization of concepts
- Social Inference: Heuristics and Biases
- Information seeking and hypothesis testing
- Errors and biases in thinking
- Consequences of heuristic use and biases
- Ways to reduce biases
- Theories of attribution
- Biases and errors of attribution
- Perceiving the prevalence of traits and behaviours
- Memory systems
- Memory as construction
- Application: Eyewitness testimony
- Hot Cognition
- Hot vs. cold cognition
- The influence of motivation on cognition
- The influence of affect on cognition
- The influence of cognition on affect: Counterfactual thinking
- Attitudes and Persuasion
- Origin and nature of attitudes
- Attitude measurement
- Attitude – behaviour link
- Theoretical perspectives on attitudes
- Attitude change: Persuasion
- Automatic and Controlled Processes
- Characteristics of automatic processes (e.g., unconscious, effortless)
- Characteristics of controlled processes (e.g., conscious, effortful)
- Research methods and paradigms used in automaticity research
- Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Origins and functions of stereotypes
- Stereotype activation
- Stereotype application
- Impact of stereotyping on targets: Stereotype threat
- Reducing prejudice
- The Self
- What is “the self”
- Gaining knowledge about the self
- Structure of the self
- Functions of the self
- Social Cognition and Culture
- East – West differences in social cognition (e.g., the self, motivation)
- North – South differences in social cognition: Culture of Honour
- Cultural vs. evolutionary psychology
At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:
- Define social cognition, and give examples of different kinds of phenomena that social cognition researchers study.
- Identify and describe research methods used to study social cognition.
- Read research articles critically.
- Evaluate the importance of situations on human behaviour and mental processes.
- Describe how our knowledge about the world is represented in the form of concepts or schemas.
- Explain the consequences of biases and heuristics in thinking.
- Explain theories of causal attribution and attribution biases.
- Identify memory systems and explain memory construction.
- Describe how motivations and emotions affect cognition.
- Describe theoretical perspectives of attitudes and how attitudes relate to behaviours.
- Compare and contrast automatic and controlled information processing.
- Identify stereotypes as concepts and explain stereotype activation and application.
- Identify the various components and functions of the self.
- Describe how cultural background affects social cognition.
- Apply principles of social cognition to real-world events.
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%|
|APA style application paper||20%|
|Attendance and participation||5%|
Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:
Fiske, S. & Taylor, S.(2013). Social cognition, from brains to culture. London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.
Fiske, S.T., & Macrae, C.N.(2012). The Sage handbook of social cognition. London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.