Module details for Advanced Cognition and the Social Brain


This module is designed to develop students' understanding of social psychology and cognition, building on their second-year Cognitive and Social Psychology module. The module develops a deeper understanding of cognitive processes such as attention, perception and memory and explores how these processes underpin social processing.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with an in-depth and critical understanding of issues related to social and non-social cognition, including key theoretical approaches and research findings. This is a core BPS module where topics introduced at level 8 are revisited at a more advanced level. This will be achieved through a flipped approach of online lecture materials, small group tutorials and research-focused assessments.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate a deep understanding of key cognitive psychological processes.

2.  Demonstrate an advanced understanding of social processing and its links to cognition.

3.  Engage in effective, knowledgeable communication regarding cognitive and social research in both written and oral work.

4.  Critically evaluate research relating to cognition and social cognition.

Indicative Content

1 Historical and Conceptual Issues

Introduction to cognitive models in psychology and their influence on our understanding of social processing.

2 Visual perception

Models of visual perception – reminder of processes in the recognition of objects, categories and faces.

3 Attention

Understanding models of visuo-spatial and executive attention. Executive functions and whether they can be trained by certain practices (e.g. bilingualism). Working memory.

4 Memory

Exploring types of long-term memory including semantic and episodic, declarative and non-declarative. Understanding associative networks in memory and priming.

5 Social memory

The storage and organisation of complex social information in memory. Exploring social categorisation and the formation and structure of stereotypes.

6 Activation and application of social categories

Understanding conditions of stereotype activation and application. Dual processing models of social cognition and automaticity.

7 Stereotype formation

Models of the cultural development of stereotypes, as well as developmental trajectories of stereotype use across childhood.

8 Intergroup prejudice

Exploring intergroup prejudice and the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce it. .

9 Self-processing systems

The influence of the self on attention, perception and memory for incoming information.

10 Neuropsychological perspectives

Understanding the neural bases of the cognitive and socio-cognitive processes covered in the module. What can neuroimaging and patient studies tell us about social and non-social cognition?

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 114
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.