Social Psychology II

Module titleSocial Psychology II
Module codePSY2203
Academic year2016/7
Module staff

Dr Louise Pendry (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

We inhabit a hectic social world. In any one day we can expect to deal with many other people, perhaps as first acquaintances, friends, or prospective employers, in the supermarket, at the pub or work. So, precisely how do we navigate this complex social life? What social information grabs our attention? How do we organise and use it in our interactions with others and our judgements about them? These are some of the questions that interest social cognition researchers. In this module, we investigate how we process social information. When do we make speedy and automatic ‘gut reaction’ judgements? When instead, do we process social information in a more effortful, deliberate and controlled way?

You will be introduced to a range of social cognitive methodologies and will explore how such tools enable us to shed light on these processes. Such knowledge can have a direct application in your future career, particularly in areas such as advertising, marketing and human resources.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The primary aim of this module is to provide you with a thorough grounding in some key areas of social cognitive psychology, focusing in particular on processes via which we understand ourselves and others. You will be introduced to a range of social cognitive methodologies and will learn how such tools enable us to shed light on these processes. In turn, such knowledge can have direct application for your future careers (e.g., in advertising, marketing, human resources).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain some of the main theoretical developments in the social psychological field (especially social cognition) and of the empirical support for theoretical assumptions in the field
  • 2. Evaluate different approaches, discussing the complexity of social phenomena and illustrating the wide variety of methods used to examine them

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Illustrate detailed factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject and identify a variety of ideas, contexts and frameworks
  • 4. Review and critically evaluate published work and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at a well-developed level structure this literature to present logical and coherent arguments
  • 5. Solve complex problems systematically, think critically and creatively, and appreciate the complexities of the issues
  • 6. Apply essential principles in designing research, and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques at a well-developed level
  • 7. Discuss the wider ethical issues relating to the subject and its application

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Interact effectively within a learning group, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate
  • 9. Manage learning using resources for the discipline
  • 10. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion and develop your own criteria and judgment, and seek and make use of feedback
  • 11. Manage and select information and data from a range of sources and develop appropriate information finding strategies
  • 12. Take responsibility for your own learning with minimum direction
  • 13. Communicate effectively in the manner appropriate to the discipline and in a variety of formats
  • 14. Identify key areas of problems and choose appropriate methods for their resolution in a considered manner
  • 15. Act with increasing autonomy, with reduced need for supervision and direction, within defined guidelines
  • 16. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to social cognition: The 'why' question
  • Priming effects in judgement and behaviour: Does thinking about Hitler make us more aggressive?
  • Impression formation I
  • Impression formation II
  • Attribution: Seeking to understand our own and others' behaviour
  • Attribution biases I
  • Attribution biases II
  • The Self I : Making life easier, better and more positive
  • The Self II: Optimism and the human brain
  • The Self III: Self presentation in the contemporary world of social networking
  • Stereotypes as expectancies: The social perceiver as hypothesis tester
  • Controlling and changing stereotypes: An impossible task?
  • Implicit stereotyping
  • Attitudes and behaviour I
  • Attitudes and behaviour II
  • Attitude change I
  • Attitude change II
  • The cognitive heuristics I
  • The cognitive heuristics II
  • From cognition to behaviour: Applying social cognition processes to real-world situations
  • Consolidation of learning: Review
  • Revision

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Tutorials (3 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Learning125Preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorial preparation x 32000 words approxAllGeneric feedback provided in tutorial presentations/slides

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination501 hourAllGeneric
Essay502000 wordsAllIndividual


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExaminationAllAug Ref/Def
EssayEssayAllAug Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the essay you will be required to resubmit the essay. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Moskowitz, G.B. (2005). Social cognition: Understanding self and others. New York: Guilford. This book is now also available online in the library.

Other books that cover aspects of this module are:

Baron, R.A., Byrne, D., and Branscombe, N. (2005). Social Psychology (11th Edition). New York: Pearson

Fiske, S.E. and Taylor, S.T. (1991). Social cognition (2nd Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill

Fiske, S. T. and Taylor, S. T. (2008). Social cognition: From brains to culture. New York: McGraw-Hill

Kunda, Z. (1999). Social cognition: Making sense of people. Cambridge, Mass: MIT

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Social psychology, social cognition, social information processing, categorisation, impression formation, attribution theory, attribution biases, stereotypes, stereotype suppression, attitude change, attitude/behaviour link, cognitive heuristics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date