Social Cognitive Development – PSYC 812

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course will explore and evaluate theories and empirical findings on the development of social cognition, a form of cognition. Students will engage knowledge of cognitive development and social development as we examine how research explains the role cognitive processes play in social interactions. Emphasis on the “social” aspects of social cognition will guide our focus on cognition in relation to the self, others, how we interpret feelings and emotions, and mental processes that influence perception and judgments within social groups.




The field of social cognition examines the fundamental cognitive mechanisms for many forms of social behavior. Primarily, social cognition is vital in facilitating early social and cognitive (emotional) development and embodies key insights into human nature. This course will inform and equip students to engage social cognition as an important tool by which they can make sense of themselves, understand others, and navigate an ever-changing social landscape. This tool is mediated by complex functions which involve perceptions, memories, beliefs, and attitudes which are fundamental to the discipline of psychology.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand and demonstrate the major concepts, theories, methodologies, and empirical findings within the area of social cognitive development.
  2. Critique empirical research related to social cognitive development.
  3. Integrate knowledge gained from major concepts, theories, and empirical findings to identify the role cognitive processes play in social interactions along with biblical principles.
  4. Analyze the “social” aspect of social cognitive development from a biblical worldview.
  5. Evaluate the role of self, others, and how feelings, emotions, and mental processes influence perception and judgments within various social groups.
  6. Use empirical research to evaluate and support social cognitive development, which embodies key insights into human nature.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and Lecture Presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum in Modules/Weeks 4 and 6. Each thread must be at least 500 to 800 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmate’s thread. Reply must be at least 250 to 500 words.

Reading Summaries (5)

The student is expected to “actively” read (survey, question, read, recite, and review) all required reading materials. For Modules/Weeks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, the reading summary will include an integration of selected chapters from Fiske and Taylor’s (2017) text; Hamilton’s (2005) text; book chapter(s) and journal article(s) related to each module/week. The summary should include an introduction section, the body (three paragraphs) each with a major theme supported by at least two empirical sources and the conclusion section. Each reading summary should be (1.5 to 2 pages) in length. See Reading Summary example provided under “Assignment Instructions” tab in Blackboard.

Article Critique (3)

For modules/weeks 2, 3 and, 5, the student will select an empirical study in a peer-reviewed journal and formulate a written 4-page critique of that article. Special attention should be given to the research methods as it relates to the study of social cognitive development. These critique articles will equip students to scholarly critique peer-review literature. Students will learn how to critically dissect and evaluate empirical literature which will be beneficial for their final research paper (Module/Week 7), their dissertation, and attaining scholarship in their discipline. Hint: Students can use these assignments to select articles that will add to the literature review for their Final Research Paper.

Research Paper

In Module/Week 1, students will review the topic choices from the assignment list in Module/Week 7 and submit their selected topic. In Module/Week 7, the student will write a 25-page research-based paper in current APA format that evaluates the selected topic related to social cognitive development. The paper must include at least 10 references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will cover all contents from modules/weeks 1–4. This exam will be open-book/open-notes, includes 5 short answer/essay question, and will have a 2-hour time limit.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will be comprehensive and will be open-book/open-notes. It will cover all materials covered in Modules/Weeks 1-8, contains 50 multiple choice questions, 5 short essay questions, and have a 3-hour time limit.