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Social Cognitive Development - PSY00032H

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Harriet Over
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Humans are a deeply social species. In this module, we will examine how children come to understand the social world and interact with others. We will discuss the origins of positive social behaviours such as helping and sharing, as well as the origins of social problems such as prejudice and discrimination.

Module learning outcomes

  • Give an account of the major findings in each of the topics covered, including the development of prosocial behaviour, imitation and morality.
  • Describe the relative merits of different methods for studying social cognitive development.
  • Discuss the role of learning in bringing about mature social cognitive abilities.
  • Describe cultural variation in children’s social behaviour.
  • Recognise the implications of major findings in social cognitive development for psychology and society.

Module content

  • Understanding other people: The origins theory of mind in infancy
  • Learning from other people: Imitation in infancy and early childhood
  • Helping other people: Understanding the origins of prosociality
  • Judging other people: The origins of morality in young children
  • Prejudice and discrimination: Investigating intergroup biases in young children
  • Cross cultural approaches to child development


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Social Cognitive Development
5 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Social Cognitive Development
5 hours 100

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision.

Indicative reading

Indicative reading

  • Dunham, Y., Baron, A.S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of ‘minimal’ group affiliations in children. Child Development, 82(3), 793-811.
  • Martin, A., & Olson, K. R. (2015). Beyond good and evil: What motivations underlie children's prosocial behavior. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 159-175.
  • Over, H. (2020). The social function of imitation in development. Annual Review of Developmental Psychology, 2, 93-109.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.