APSK15762U Elective course - Social Cognition

Volume 2024/2025

Social cognition refers to the cognitive processes that enable individuals to function within a social group. The course will provide a contemporary overview of theoretical frameworks and research in this area. The course will consider how we perceive and understand others, how the presence of others changes our cognitive processing and how our cognitive processes are optimized for group living. Topics will include agency, imitation, communication, mentalizing, the relationship between self and other, social influence on cognitive processes, and joint action. Throughout, the course will touch on the developmental and evolutionary origins of our core social cognitive capacities, how human social cognition compares to that of other animals, and what neural processes support these capacities.

Learning Outcome


  • Define core concepts, domains, and positions within the field of social cognition.
  • Account for methods, including neuroscientific methods, for studying social cognition.
  • Understand ways in which social context can modify cognitive processing.
  • Describe developmental origins of core social cognitive skills.



  • Contextualize concepts and discussions introduced in the course to core scientific texts in the field of social cognition.
  • Use concepts about social cognition in adequate ways.
  • Interpret the relevance of empirical studies in choosing between different theories and models of social cognition.
  • Discuss the relationship between developmental contexts and the social cognitive skills of adults.



  • Evaluate how empirical research is related to positions in core theoretical debates in the field of social cognition.
  • Assess the adequacy of different empirical methods to address research problems in the field of social cognition.

BA: 400 compulsory, 200 self-selected

KA: 600 compulsory; 200 self-selected

An up-to-date syllabus list will be available in the course room on Absalon just before the start of the semester.

The classes consist of lectures and seminar classes

7x4 hours (2h lecture + 2h seminar) blocked over the first half of the semester (agreed with Head of Studies)

Week 36-41+43
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 14
  • Seminar
  • 14
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Written home assignment

For the exam, students will choose an example of research covered during the course, come up with a follow-up question, design a research proposal, and write it up as an assignment (individually max. 6 pages, in groups of 2 max. 8 pages, in groups of 3 max. 10 pages).

As course activity in requirement for the exam, two weeks before exam period begins, 1-page outlines of research proposals have to be submitted, which will be followed by a peer review phase. Each individual / group will review 2 other proposals and submit it to the course instructors. Feedback is distributed one week before the deadline; final assignment should incorporate feedback.

In addition, during the semester, students will be expected to participate in class activities such as group work or presenting a research paper.

PREREQUISITES FOR SITTING THE EXAM: For all elective courses, the attendance requirement is 75%. However, the course is based on full participation.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Research proposal but on a new topic, different to the topic submitted for peer feedback (if any). No additional peer feedback will be given prior deadline.

Criteria for exam assesment

Criteria for exam assessment:


Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner