Psychology of Social Cognition
ASOC. PROF. LUDMILLA ANDREEVA, PH.D.
A distance-learning course
One of the defining features that sets human beings apart from other animals is not only our ability to think, but also our ability to be aware of what we are thinking. A second feature, although shared with some other animal species, is our sociability and the central importance we place on relationships with other people. These features are at the heart of social cognition: the manner in which we interpret, analyze and remember information about the social world. The course will present the three cognitive processes that we apply to our social world: (1) information we receive about other people (and ourselves, for that matter) is interpreted, i.e. the information is given meaning often by both the social context and our previous experience, cultural values, etc. (2) social information is analyzed, i.e. the initial interpretation may be adjusted, changed or even rejected; (3) social information is stored in memory from which it may be recalled or retrieved. Recalling information from memory may require considerable effort; effort that we may not always be willing to make. As “social world” refers both to other people and ourselves, theories and research presented in this course are equally about other people, ourselves, and about ourselves in interaction with other people.