Module code: PSY3101

Module Overview

Please note: This module is part of the Social Psychology and Cognitive Psychology streams of Level 6 optional modules and will not be running every year. In some years an alternative optional module(s) within the Social and Cognitive Psychology streams will be offered instead.

This module introduces students to the main concepts, methods, and findings of the cognitive approach to social psychology. Although it can be argued that social psychology has always been permeated by cognitive concepts, systematic research in social cognition began in the 1970s. In this module, we will examine the main theories, models, and empirical results of the research that in the last few decades investigated topics such as the following: social attention and memory, person perception, social categorization, and stereotyping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Module provider


Module Leader

RUSCONI Patrice (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSc Psychology Levels 4 and 5 or equivalent

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Introduction: What is Social Cognition?

  2. Automatic vs controlled processes.

  3. Social attention.

  4. Models of memory in social cognition.

  5. Attribution processes.

  6. Person perception.

  7. Social inference.

  8. Social categorization.

  9. Stereotyping.

  10. Social cognition, affect, and behaviour.

  11. Conclusion, revision, and summary.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAM (1 HOUR) 50

Alternative Assessment

Students who take temporary suspension partway through this module may not be able to complete the remaining classes for this module on their return if it is not running in the following academic year. Such students will have the choice to take a replacement module, or, if they have already completed an assessment for the original module, to attend classes from a new optional module within the same stream (area of psychology) and complete an alternative assessment based on this content that meets the learning outcomes of the original module. The specific alternative assessment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills of written presentation and critical evaluation as well as their breadth and depth of knowledge.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment 1: critical review (6 pages, 50%).

Students will have the opportunity to describe, analyse, and critically evaluate some social cognitive studies. Students will be given an assessment brief. (assesses learning outcomes: 1-4) Submission: Week 7

Assessment 2: Exam (1 hour, 50%).

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to report on the topics of the lectures and to critically discuss them. (assesses learning outcomes: 1-4) Exam period

Formative assessment

Students will receive formative assessment with discussion questions during lectures.


Students will receive verbal feedback during and after the lectures, and written feedback on their assignments. 

Module aims

  • To develop students' ability to autonomously think, criticize, and reflect on theories and methods used in the social cognitive literature
  • To introduce students to the main theories and domains of application of the cognitive approach to social psychology
  • To provide students with the basic knowledge on and  understanding of how cognitive processes, such as attention, memory, and peception, are investigated to understand social phenomena

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Understand the main properties of the cognitive processes investigated in social contexts KC
2 Explain, analyse and critically evaluate the main theories, experimental paradigms, and findings of the social cognitive literature KC
3 Be adept at analysing and critiquing, through written evaluation, theoretical and methodological approaches PT
4 Be familiar with cognitive approaches to social psychological phenomena PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop the capacity to explain key concepts in articles.

  • Develop a critical understanding of advantages and disadvantages of research methods used in social cognition.

  • Develop independent and critical thought.

  • Develop written skills of argumentation and analysis.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures.

  • Group/class discussions.

  • Classroom exercises.

All lecture slides, the reading lists, and additional learning materials will be uploaded on SurreyLearn.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3101

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.