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Social Cognition

Course Code: PSYC 3361
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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
  2. Basic Concepts in social cognition
    • Automatic and controlled processes
    • Attention and encoding
    • Social cognition represented in memory processes
  3. Self and identity
    • What is "the self"?
  4. Attribution processes
    • Theories of attribution
  5. Heuristics and Decision Making
  6. Accuracy and efficiency in social inference
  7. Attitudes and Persuasion
    • Origin and nature of attitudes
    • Cognitive processing of attitude
  8. Stereotypes and Prejudice
    • Cognition and bias
  9. Affect and Behaviour
    • The influence of affect on social cognition
    • The influence of cognition on affect
  10. Social cognition and culture
    • Variations in social cognition from a multicultural perspective

Methods of Instruction

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.

course prerequisites

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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.

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